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Energy symposium spotlights renewable alternatives

Energy experts agreed during a recent symposium cosponsored by the College of Engineering that America’s future fuel needs must be met with a mix of renewable and traditional resources.

“Thermochemical conversion can produce energy, fuels and chemicals from the full spectrum of biomass resources.”—Bill Jacoby

However, a CoE member of the symposium believes that the use of fossil fuels must be eliminated entirely. For Missouri, a viable strategy involves radical, infrastructure-based conservation and the use of other forms of energy from renewable sources, said symposium speaker Bill Jacoby, a biological engineering associate professor. Missouri’s current supply of farm crop residues, manure and tree harvest residues could provide as much as 30 percent of the state’s current energy demand through a process called thermochemical conversion, Jacoby said.

“Thermochemical conversion can produce energy, fuels and chemicals from the full spectrum of biomass resources,” Jacoby said.

Mizzou Engineering joined forces with the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources to sponsor the Oct. 24 on-campus energy symposium, which preceded a town hall discussion sponsored by energy giant ConocoPhillips.

Attended by more than 100 people, the MU symposium featured talks by Jacoby, MU nuclear engineering Professor Bill Miller, MU physics Professor Peter Pfeifer, U. S. Department of Agriculture Senior Scientific Advisor Jim Fischer, ConocoPhillips R&D General Manager Merl Lindstrom and Missouri State Energy Office Director Anita Randolph.

All the symposium’s speakers foresaw an increasing role for renewable energy resources, such as biomass, wind and solar power. Saying America needs to take advantage of several alternative technologies to solve its energy woes, Fischer noted that only about 6 percent of the nation’s energy currently comes from renewable sources.

Nuclear energy appears to be a more viable energy alternative today than it has been for quite a while, Miller said.

“We need to have energy diversity,” ConocoPhillips’ Lindstrom agreed. “We can’t take any energy source off the table.”

Download the symposium speaker PowerPoint slides below:

Peter Pfeifer
Advanced Nanoporous Carbon for Natural Gas & Hydrogen Storage, and Battery Applications [PDF 3.4MB]

James R. Fischer
A National Perspective on Energy and Renewable Energy[PDF 73MB]

Merl Lindstrom
Conversation on Energy [PDF 2MB]

William H. Miller
Nuclear Energy Vision for Missouri [PDF 4MB]

William A. Jacoby [PDF 11MB]
Thermochemical Conversion of Biomass and its Potential for Missouri

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