International Biomass Conference & Expo Agenda Coming Together

In its tenth year, the International Biomass Conference & Expo has certainly come of age. Tim Portz offers an early look at the world's largest "All Things Biomass" industry event.
By Tim Portz | December 20, 2016

As I write this our team is accepting invitations to our speakers for the 2017 International Biomass Conference & Expo. Over the last two weeks I’ve had the privilege of sifting through over 150 submitted abstracts and talking about them with friends and colleagues in the industry.

I’ve said so on Twitter but I’d like to say again that I find this process to be a very humbling endeavor. Ours is an industry brim full of very bright people and I’m lucky enough to try and pull it all together into a worthwhile conference.

We’ll be posting the agenda for the main conference before the week is out. All that is left to do is author panel titles, one of my favorite writing efforts of the entire year.

I wanted to offer these thoughts as a sneak preview to our soft launch on Friday.

1. Our biogas content has come a long, long way. A handful of years ago we struggled to form a fully populated biogas track (24 speakers). Each year we’ve attracted a few more quality abstracts and this year I had the luxury of building our biogas track from well over 40 submitted abstracts. As a result, we’re overbuilt on biogas and will be hosting a biogas utilization panel within our Advanced Biofuels & Biochemicals track.

2. Our Biomass Handling, Preparation & Storage Workshop is already a runaway success. I’m thrilled with the response we got from our vendors in the biomass conveyance sector and if your job requires you to receive, size reduce and move biomass you’ve got to join us on Monday for this event. We’ve got 16 very good presentations ranging from managing fire risk in corn stover bale depots to the best screen sizes to use when hammermilling MSW.

3. Speaking of Monday, late last week we officially announced that for the second time in three years Heating the Midwest will be collocated at the International Biomass Conference & Expo. This co-location was a tremendous success in 2015 and we fully anticipate the same this time around. We are accepting abstracts for that event until Wednesday, December 28th. If you are using biomass heat to warm your business, an poultry operation, your school or anything else please send us abstract.

4. Biomass Energy in the Twin Cities. One of the biggest advantages to hosting the International Biomass Conference & Expo here in Minneapolis is we get to take attendees to a handful of facilities we’ve grown incredibly familiar with. We’ll be posting our Industry Tour information later today and I encourage you to give it a look. We’ll be touring both District Energy St. Paul and Koda Energy as well as the operations that supply them with feedstock. We’ll throw in lunch and feature music from Prince and Bob Dylan for good measure.

5. It’s Free. If you work at a biomass energy facility your registration to the International Biomass Conference & Expo is free. I’m not talking about talking developers that are making small volumes as a way of perfecting their process, I’m talking the men and women that work at pellet plants, biodiesel plants, ethanol plants, biomass power plants, biogas facilities, etc. You do have to pay for pre-conferences and the tours, but I’d challenge anyone to find more content for available to producers for less money even when paying for the add-ons. It doesn’t exist.

We’ve politely steered away from hyperbole like “World’s Largest Biomass Conference” in the past because we weren’t sure we could validate the claim. I’m bringing it back around this year. By my count we’ve already got 29 panels fully formed. Throw in another 4 for Heating the Midwest that we’ll build next week and we’re up to 33. Did I mention that I’ve got 10 very good dedicated energy crop and biomass feedstock abstracts I’ve dropped into a feedstock only pre-conference concept?

Before its all said and done this conference may very well have three pre-conferences, 4 technical tracks and an industry tour.

See you in April.