CALLOWAY COUNTY, KY (7/13/12) – Murray State University hosted a meeting Thursday, July 12, to provide information on the activities of West Kentucky AgBioworks (WKABW) and to release the West Kentucky Bio-Energy Commercialization Opportunity Report.
Held in the Murray Room of the CFSB Center, the luncheon and program began with a welcome from MSU President Dr. Randy Dunn. Dunn announced West Kentucky AgBioworks as a key initiative under Murray State’s new “Innovation for Impact” strategic imperative.
Loretta Daniel, director of the Regional Business and Innovation Center at MSU, spoke about the WKABW Initiative, its partners and past accomplishments, and discussed the four goals of this initiative — formation of a regional farmer network, development of a Bio-Energy Demonstration Center at Murray State University, support of the commercialization of bio-energy businesses in western Kentucky and education of the region on biomass opportunities.
Dr. Steve Cobb, dean of the MSU college of science, engineering and technology, discussed future faculty and student research at the Bio-Energy Demonstration Center. Dr. Tim Todd, dean of the Bauernfeind College of Business, discussed the colleges’ role in continued business development support.
Dr. Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture, discussed the Farmer Network activities and Bio-Energy Demonstration Center. Twelve farmers have participated in growing and harvesting biomass crops in the region. The new Bio-Energy Demonstration Center has been established with two seasons of sugar-based biomass crops grown on the Murray State farms, partnering with Ceres and Betaseed Seed companies. A successful test of biomass to heat in an LEI Product bio-burner has been completed and this new technology will soon be installed at the demonstration center.
Other featured speakers included James Comer, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture; Tim Hughes, director of the Division of Biofuels in the Department for Energy Development and Independence; Roger Thomas, executive director, Governor’s Office of Agriculture Policy; and Peter Nelson, co-founder of BioDimensions and director of new business development. Nelson presented the results of two research projects regarding the opportunities of Bio-Energy Commercialization for West Kentucky.
Additionally, Dr. Steven Bares from the Memphis Bioworks Foundation discussed the multi-state AgBioworks partnerships and presented funding to the West Kentucky AgBioworks Initiative. The program closed with a briefing from Ron Mayes of the West Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation explaining the electric co-op’s support for the initiative. Daniel noted that this is the third year an event to report on the West Kentucky AgBioworks Initiative has been hosted. Last year the WKABW was launched with funding presented by Len Peters, secretary of the Energy and Environment Cabinet.
Information provided by Murray State University
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