The Biorenewables Cafe meets informally and provides a networking forum for people interested in sustainability. The September meeting featured a speaker, Dr. Richard Chandra, from the UBC Faculty of Forestry. Dr. Chandra is a research associate in the Forest Products Biotechnology/ Bioenergy Research Group. His talk, "Bio-fuels and Bio-products from Biomass: Breaking apart something that's meant to stay together," will springboard the networking session. Here is a quote of the abstract from his presentation:
Bio-fuels and Bio-products from Biomass: Breaking apart something that’s meant to stay together!
The major hurdle to overcome when trying to unlock the energy in leftover agricultural biomass and woody waste to supply our needs for renewable fuels and products is the inherent recalcitrance of the biomass itself. Nature has interwoven the chemical components of biomass into a structure that resists breakdown by biochemical means, thus necessitating various processes called pretreatments. Pretreatments aim to cleanly separate these chemical components in a usable form and, in many cases are analogous to processes used in the pulp and paper industry. This presentation will examine the biology, chemistry and physics responsible for the resistance of biomass to breakdown, while detailing the various pretreatment processes that are currently being examined at UBC which aim to maximize the value obtainable from biomass.This Canadian sustainability group serves as a model because many of us could form such groups in our own communities where we can learn from one another, listen to experts, read, discuss, and improve science literacy on sustainability. In fact, global sustainability will increase as more and more of us educate ourselves and each other about how we can sustain the Earth.
In school communities, each student could spend time becoming a mini-expert by reading up on a particular aspect of sustainability, or, even by "slogging" through a journal article and slowly learning its vocabulary, and content. Then, students could come together after 2 weeks or three of their independent or small group work and could then learn in a cooperative manner, but also have fun, by having their own Sustainability Cafe...healthy snacks included (by assisting parents and school volunteers). Please feel free to report back here on your experiences either by adding a comment or by submitting a post. (Please put BLOG POST in the re: line. Thanks.)
Forest Products Biotechnology/Bioenergy Research Group: http://www.bioenergy.ubc.ca/
Biorenewables Cafe on Linked-in: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Biorenewables-Caf
(c)2012 J S Shipman. All rights reserved.