Nation's Largest Biomass Conference To Draw International Experts

Technology Breakthroughs, "Green" Power, New Initiatives Focus Of Gathering

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Golden, Colo., July 29, 1999 — One of mankind's oldest sources of energy may find new importance in the new millennium.

Experts from around the world will review technical achievements, major new bioenergy initiatives and environmental issues surrounding the use of biomass for fuels, power and products at the Fourth Biomass Conference of the Americas Aug. 29 - Sept. 2 in Oakland, Calif.

Hundreds of participants from North America, South America and Europe will hear scientists, business leaders and government officials assess the role of biomass as a leading energy source in the next century.

Several conference sessions will focus on new initiatives from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Congress that could substantially boost the role of biomass and bioenergy in domestic energy supplies and rural development.

The vision of DOE's initiative - "Growing Energy to Power America" - is to spur the growth of a domestic biomass industry to produce power, fuels and chemicals from crops, trees and waste. One goal is to make a "ton of biomass" compete with a barrel of imported oil.

Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind) has introduced the National Sustainable Fuels and Chemicals Act, which would supply nearly $300 million over six years for bioenergy research and development. Lugar cites the potential of biomass and bioenergy to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, promote agricultural development, strengthen U.S. energy security and encourage a cleaner environment.

In California, several major commercial biomass and bioenergy demonstration projects are supported by the California Energy Commission and will be visited by conference delegates.

California's biomass energy industry is the largest in the world. One conference plenary session will review the state's success and serious challenges waiting in the near future.

The Fourth Biomass Conference of the Americas is being organized by DOE, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the California Energy Commission and Natural Resources Canada.

Copies of the conference's preliminary program can be obtained by calling Julia Thomas at NREL, 303-275-3023 before Aug. 28. To arrange interviews during the conference call the media room at the conference's host hotel, the Oakland Marriott City Center, 510-451-4000 or call Patrick Summers at 720-353-7553 (cell phone.)

Visit NREL online.