Bioenergy Short Course 2016

05-06 April, 2017
Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center
State College, PA
Register online at

About the Event

Though difficult to quantify in dollars, vegetative ecosystem services such as water filtration, carbon storage, erosion and runoff prevention, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, and scenic beauty provide extraordinary value to society.  Perennial vegetation in the form of biomass crops that reach bioproduct and biofuel markets are becoming more of an option for farmers, landowners, and land managers, and they can also supply these ecosystem services.  Many of these crops exhibit conservation or site rehabilitation value, introducing new opportunities for simultaneous economic and environmental benefits.

This short course provides an in-depth look at opportunities for the use of perennial biomass crops, including grasses and short-rotation woody crops, in accomplishing conservation and rehabilitation goals on a landscape scale.  Presentations, panels, and discussion sessions feature leading researchers, agency representatives, and industry professionals in the field. 



05 April:
13:00 Guided tour of sites where perennial crops are being used for mineland reclamation, water quality improvement, wastewater treatment, and other applications.
18:00 Networking reception at the Penn Stater Conference Center
06 April:
08:20 Welcome and Introductions
08:30 The Opportunity for Bioenergy and Ecosystem Services in the Northeast US
09:00 Terrestrial rehabilitation keynote
09:45 Break
10:00 Land Panel: Minelands, Landfills, Pollinator Services, Site Reclamation, Site Improvement, Phytoremediation
12:00 Lunch
13:00 Water Quality Keynote
13:30 The Chesapeake Bay and Bioenergy
14:00 Water Panel: Buffers, Bay Water Quality, Precision Plantings, Wastewater Treatment
16:00 Discussion and Wrap-up


Who Should Attend?

This short course is designed for individuals seeking to gain a better understanding of the opportunities and issues related to utilizing bioenergy crops both as an energy resource and as an ecosystem service provider in an integrated ecological system. Bioenergy professionals, ecosystem services professionals, policy makers, researchers, project developers and public sector professionals are all strongly encouraged to attend.  



Presenters, panelists, and moderators for the short course include experts in ecosystem services and landscape management relative to bioenergy crops and opportunities. This includes:


Tour Information

The afternoon tour on the 5th will visit three sites where ecosystem services and/or bioenergy production are being demonstrated or studied. Transportation is provided to and from the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center.

Strip Mine site:
The coal in this area was deep mined in the 1960s and re-mined in the 2000s. Several bioenergy crops are being tested on this site to determine their viability for providing land reclamation value as well as biomass production.

Rockview willow energy crop plantation site:
This shrub willow trial at Rockview occupies 34 acres on mildly eroded agricultural land. The field was planted in May of 2012 with 12 strips of six commercial cultivars, harvested in January of 2016. Crop productivity and aerial fluxes are actively monitored.

Living Filter waster water treatment site:
The Living Filter is a pioneering effort in waste management that started at Penn State in the early 1960's and developed into the full scale, very successful wastewater recycling project. Active research sites are collecting data on water movement through soil, forest management and investigating the impacts of wastewater irrigation on the presence of hormones in on site vernal pools.

Riparian Buffer site:
This stop will tour a riparian buffer established between 2007 and 2008 to improve water quality and ecological performance of a coldwater trout stream. The scope of work included stabilizing eroding stream banks, increasing the size of the riparian buffer and planting native trees and shrubs to create a forested riparian buffer.

PDH for Professional Engineers

This event qualifies for Professional Development Hours (PDH) for professional engineers. Participants can receive 2 PDH for the tour on the 5th, and 8 PDH for the lecture program on the 6th. Certificates available on request.

Register Now!

Register online at

Online participation is available to registrants - contact the event organizer (listed below) for details.



Contact Sarah Wurzbacher at or 814-350-7753


This short course is hosted By Penn State Extension in partnership with the Penn State Biomass Energy Center and the USDA-sponsored NEWBio Bioenergy Consortium - a regional partnership of universities, companies, and government agencies working together to grow the bioenergy industry in the Northeast US. Partial support is provided by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant No. 2012-68005-19703 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Penn State is an Equal Opportunity University.

Penn State Bioenergy Short Courses