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Biofuels Symposium on Tap

The School of Engineering is pleased to announce a Biofuels Symposium will take place at the University of Connecticut on January 11, 2007. The evolving program will include sessions on Industrial Opportunities, Agricultural Production Opportunities, Chemistry and Engineering, and Policy & Regulation. Among the invited speakers to date are Drs. Larry Smart, associate professor in the College of Environmental Science & Forestry, SUNY-NY; Joseph Helble, Dean of the Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College; Frank Preli, Vice President of UTC Power; Shaw Ling Hsu, professor and Head of Polymer Science & Engineering, UMass-Amherst; R. Michael Raab, founder and acting CEO of Agrivida Corp., and state and federal policy makers.

The symposium is being organized by the Biofuel Consortium at UConn, which seeks to advance the University’s biofuel research initiative for the greater good of the environment, and to help the nation gain energy independence. The Consortium is composed of students and professors associated with the departments and programs of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Plant Science, Marine Science, Natural Resources, Economics, and Business.

In the spring of 2005, the team conducted two successful demonstration projects in which a bus and a tractor were run using blends of biodiesel manufactured on campus. The biodiesel mix included waste vegetable oil from University dining halls as the feedstock. The Biodiesel Consortium has since secured the funding and means to produce enough biodiesel to replace five percent of the petrodiesel fuel consumed by university vehicles using University waste oil. A first workshop was held in May 2006 to explore the level of interest in Connecticut, and this Symposium is being held to satisfy the intense interest found among many sectors of the Connecticut population.

Details of the Symposium may be found on the Biofuel Consortium website, at http://biodiesel.engr.uconn.edu. For additional information, contact Dr. Richard Parnas, Director of the Chemical Engineering Program at UConn.