News & Events

Virginia Dale, in collaboration with Gale Fulton (Chair of the Landscape Architecture Program, UTK) has arranged for guest speaker Jenny Sabin to visit ORNL on February 9, 2015.  Jenny Sabin, from Cornell University, plans to meet with the Laboratory Director, Thom Mason after which she is scheduled to tour the Measurements Science Labs with Ken Tobin and the Building Technologies Research and Integration Center with PilJae Im.  She will also give a talk at 11:00am in Bldg. 5100, Rm. 128, entitled “Between Architecture and Science:  Elasticity and Networks before leaving the lab to conduct a seminar at the University of Tennessee.  Dr. Sabin is also Director of Sabin Design Labs and Principle of Jenny Sabin Studios.  You can see more of her work at her website at the following address:

The SCOPE report on "Bioenergy & Sustainability" official launch is now scheduled for April 14th in Sao Paulo, Brazil, followed by an international "science day" workshop on April 15th. Other launch events are being planned/expected in Europe (Paris), Africa (Nairobi) and the US (New York and/or Washington, DC).  The report was prepared crediting 134 co-authors from 24 countries including Helena Chum, Virginia Dale, Michael Wang, Ethan Warner, Tom Faust, Robert McCormick, Gregg Beckham, Dave Muth, Doug Arent, Ling Tao, Keith Kline and others.  Helena also serves on the Scientific Advisory Committee.   It includes 21 Chapters and >700 pages, click here for more information.

JANUARY 6-7: Hans Langeveld, Director of Biomass Research in the Netherlands, visited ORNL hosted by Virginia Dale. While he was here, he conducted a seminar for the CBES Monthly Forum titled Harvesting more from less land: Changes in land use intensity and its impact on the food vs. fuel debate Dr. Langeveld also met with Martin Keller for an overview of ORNL's Bioenergy Analysis and spoke with several researchers from both Environmental Sciences and Biosciences Divisions on a wide variety of topics.

OCTOBER 22 National BioEnergy Day Activities:

In conjunction with the University of Tennessee, an “information fair” will be held in the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL’s) cafeteria during the lunch hour (10 am – 2 pm) to highlight ongoing collaboration with the USDA-funded Southeastern Partnership for Integrated Biomass Supply Systems (IBSS) and the University of Tennessee’s Center for Renewable Carbon. This event will include displays and a staffed table to hand out literature and answer questions. 

October 9-17 – Keith Kline presented “Biomass for bioenergy: resources today and in the future,” as invited lecturer in the “São Paulo Advanced School on the Present and Future of Bioenergy” at University of Campinas (

ORNL’s Center for BioEnergy Sustainability (CBES) will host a seminar in Building 1505 from 3:30-4:30 pm entitled “Assessing Bioenergy Sustainability: Application of a Suite of Environmental and Socioeconomic Indicators to a Cellulosic Biofuel Production System in East Tennessee.”  The talk will be given by Esther Parish of the ORNL Environmental Sciences Division and will summarize recent research conducted to meet a September 2014 U.S. DOE BioEnergy Technologies Office (BETO) major milestone.

Sept 15, 2014: Technical Society of Knoxville (TSK) held a tour of the “Green Energy” Wampler Sausage Farm  The farm, which is converting biomass into hydrocarbons, is attempting to become energy independent.  You can learn about their goals and the installed green technology at

ORNL researchers discuss breakthroughs in biomass conversion, feedstocks, logistics and sustainability

Aug 20, 2014 - Jonathan Male, Director of the Bioenergy Technologies Office (DOE) presented an "Overview of the Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office"

Aug 12, 2014 – Laurence Eaton  hosted a 1 day interactive workshop at ORNL to explore the POLYSYS modeling framework and its application to biomass and bioenergy analysis.

ORNL researchers discuss breakthroughs in biomass conversion, feedstocks, logistics and sustainability

The National Climate Assessment (NCA) was released on May 6, 2014. The Global Change Research Act of 1990 requires a NCA assessment report at least every four years. Its production is led by the 13 Federal agencies that make up the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and is written by experts drawn from academia; local, state, and Federal government; and the private and nonprofit sectors. Contributions to the report were made from ORNL by Tom Wilbanks, Ben Preston, Steve Fernandez, Laurence Eaton, and Virginia Dale. The NCA found that, not only is global climate changing, but that the major source of change over the past 50 years has been burning of fossil fuels. The report  points out recent trends in climate change and increased extreme disturbances and calls for reduced use of fossil fuels that continue to atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. The Forest chapter points out the bioenergy could emerge as a new market for wood that could aid in the restoration of forests killed by drought insects and fire.

Rebecca Efroymson received the Holroyd Award, a science alumni award from La Salle University on April 29th, 2014

Erin Webb has been invited to serve on the Eastern Regional Advisory Council for the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. (for more information, click here.)

A poster presentation was given on "Bioenergy Sustainability" at the meeting of the Science Advisory Board of the ORNL Climate Change Science Institute on March 12, 2014. For a list of Posters presented, click here.

A workshop was held on “Incorporating Bioenergy into Sustainable Landscape Designs” on March 4-6, 2014, in New Bern, North Carolina.

August 18, 2013 – Virginia Dale presented “Global Warming: Its Effect on Tennessee” presented at the ONE EARTH, OUR CHOICE! Concert and Rally for Climate Action, at SEEED (Socially Equal Energy Efficiency Development) in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Global Sustainable Biofuels (GSB) Workshop was held on June 12-13, 2013 at ORNL. Please click on Workshops for presentations.

Virginia Dale was named the 2013 "Distinguished Landscape Ecologist" by the U.S. Regional Association of the International Association for Landscape Ecology.

Genera Energy recently won an international award at the recent World Biofuels Markets Congress and Exposition in Rotterdam, Netherlands! Further details here: Press Release.

CBES Highlights of recent work 2013 pdf

Oct 25 -  The  National Research Council released its report Sustainable Development of Algal Biofuels in the United States on which Rebecca Efroymson was an author. A press release can be found at and the report can be accessed electronically at

Council on Sustainable Biomass Production - Press Release, Final CSBP Standard, CSBP 2012 Membership List 

August 5-10, 2012 – Several ORNL staff participated in the 2012 Ecological Society of America (ESA) Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon.
  • A Special Session, "A Debate on the Sustainability of Biomass Production for Energy", focused on the proposition “Producing bioenergy can be sustainable for habitat availability and biodiversity, and can eschew the risk of new invaders.” This formal debate allowed opening statements by each of six experts, followed by rebuttals, with audience questions entertained during the final 30 minutes.  The audience was polled before and after to determine the winners.  H. Jager was an organizer and R. Efroymson represented the “for” position. 
  • Virginia Dale spoke at the Symposium "Bioenergy and Biodiversity: Oxymoron or Opportunity?" on “Environmental and socioeconomic indicators of bioenergy sustainability.”
  • Keith Kline spoke on “Models, causal analysis and scientific methods for understanding land-use change (LUC) dynamics.”

October 24 & 25, Vonore, Tennessee - Biomass: From Grow to Go.

Nov 5-8: 2012 Woody Crops Conference was held in the Oak Ridge-Knoxville area of Tennessee.

Council on Sustainable Biomass Production - Press Release, Final CSBP Standard, CSBP 2012 Membership List

Feb 6th -Congratulations to both Keith Kline and Virginia Dale who accepted the following award which was presented at the National Biodiesel Conference for Innovation.

Feb 5-8 - Virginia Dale and Keith Kline presented at the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo 2012 in Orlando, Florida. Sustainability Symposium Wed February 8th.

Virginia Dale and Mark Downing participated in the first Biomass: From Grow to Go Field Day biomass from grow to go a university of tennessee field day and workshop event october-25-26-2011 vonore tn held by the University of Tennessee.  Over 600 people attended the farm day and over 400 for the second day! In addition to general attendees, over 600 middle and high school students scheduled attended the second day of the event at the biorefinery and Biomass Innovation Park. Through the two days, over 1,000 people heard about biomass production, preprocessing, and conversion. Virginia gave a presentation on “Environmental Stewardship” based on what has been learned by the team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory under sponsorship of the Department of Energy’s Office of Biomass Program.

October 18-19, 2011 – CRC Workshop on Life Cycle Analysis of Biofuels. Argonne National Laboratory. "Perspectives on Land-Use Change Analyses" presented by Keith Kline. Copy of abstract.

ORNL contributes to IEA Bioenergy Joint Task review of land-use change issues in Campinas, Brazil" at the IEA Bioenergy Joint-Task 38/40/43 Workshop "Quantifying and managing land use effects of bioenergy".

Top Ten Steps to Improve Quantification of Land-Use Change Effects of Bioenergy Systems,

Challenges to Certify Sustainability for Bioenergy Production, Moving Forward: Policies to Improve Land Use & Address Social Concerns (when effects "always depend")

Vonore biomass plant could go commerical as switchgrass gains ground.

DOE Releases New Billion-Ton Study Highlighting Opportunities for Growth in Bioenergy Resources

August 21-25, 2011 – 4th World Conference on Ecological Restoration
Virginia Dale attended the 4th World Conference on Ecological Restoration for the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) in Mérida, Mexico. Dale gave a presentation on "Integrating climate change with land-use change"

July 27-28, 2011 - Biomass 2011
"Replace the Whole Barrel, Supply the Whole Market". National Harbor, MD.

BRIEF NOTE: The Jason Project won the Best Science or Health Curriculum category at the CODiEs for Operation: Tectonic Fury to which ORNL staff contributed. Award

Collaborators:  Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center GLBRC

July 1, 2011 - Carolyn Hoagland was recently awarded the Volkswagen Distinguished Scholar for her work in learning about how farmers choose to grow bioenergy crops.

Bioenergy Knowledge Discovery Framework (KDF), sponsored by DOE and developed by a team at ORNL led by CBES member Budhendra Bhaduri, now has its own interactive website where registered users can interact, share and have access to technical data, reports, and a variety of other features of the website related to a sustainable bioenergy industry.

National Research Council (NRC) - Rebecca A. Efroymson of ORNL has been appointed to the committee Sustainable Development of Algal Biofuels

Models, Science and the Precautionary Principle
Oak Ridge National Laboratory staff organized two symposia for the April 6-10, 2010, meeting of the US chapter of the International Association of Landscape Ecology in Athens, Georgia. Jager led Reshaping Landscapes: Bioenergy and Biodiversity and Keith Kline and Virginia Dale organized Reshaping Landscapes: Bioenergy and Land-use Change.

April 21, 2011 - Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals
Keith Kline (ORNL) and Joel Velasco (UNICA) chaired a symposium on Biomass Sustainability and Land Use for SIMs 32nd Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals, April 21, in Clearwater, Florida. View Presentation

March 2011 - USEPA Report
Rebecca Efroymson has been selected as a peer reviewer for the "Biofuels and the Environment: First Triennial Report to Congress." The peer review meeting was held in Washington, D.C. in March 2011.

Briefing on Advances in Biomass
The University of Tennessee’s Office of Biomass Programs held a briefing for southern states on Advances in Bioenergy on Jan. 28-29, 2010; and all 16 PowerPoint presentations from that briefing, including one on sustainability issues contributed by CBES, are now available. View Presentations

Land-Use Change and Bioenergy Workshop Report
A key conclusion is that current modeling efforts are limited by the availability of appropriate data sets and knowledge of driving factors of land-use change. The report emphasizes that uncertainty in land-use change models should be acknowledged, documented, quantified, and reduced and that models should be validated based on empirical data. Land Use Change and Bioenergy Report

Biofuels: Implications for Land Use and Biodiversity
The Ecological Society of America published this report by Virginia Dale, Keith Kline, John Wiens, and Joseph Fargione in January, 2010. The report discusses the importance of analyzing biofuel-related changes in land use at the ecosystem level to assess potential effects and develop more sustainable bioenergy systems. It reviews the complex relationships among land use, carbon emissions, and biodiversity that can be associated with different bioenergy choices. ESA Biofuel Report


From the Southern Bioenergy Network News – March 2015 Edition - Play Bioenergy Jeopardy!  Alongside other interactive learning opportunities prepared by the UGA Bioenergy Systems Research Initiative and partners, organizers said that "Bioenergy Jeopardy!" was the most popular of the activities because the kids had a great time learning about Southeast Bioenergy using the popular "Jeopardy!" format and categories including "Energy," "Types of Biomass" and "Bioenergy Bonanza." Click here to play.

The World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology will be held this July 19-22, 2015. The plenary sessions will cover feedstocks, a regional focus on the biobased economy, biobased innovations impacting our future, industry success stories and aviation biofuels. For more information and registrations see this announcement.

In a new Article by Carla Harper in Biomass Magazine titled "Opportunity Still Knocks" two producers act on an opportunity they see for far smaller pellet operations. To see the entire article click here

Also in Biomass Magazine, the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) is celebrating their 100th patent application. Click here for the full article.

ORNL News featured a new article titled "Sugar and Splice" by Chris Samoray. The article discusses identifing genes best suited for producing biofuel from poplar trees planted in different environments. To read more, click here.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests. The Day celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests. On each International Day of Forests, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns. For more information Click Here

BETO International SCOPE Report Launch Announcement for April 14, 2015

CBES Forums

The April CBES Forum will consist of a visit to and tour of the Carbon Fiber Technology Facility.  The tour is schedule for April 15, 2015 beginning at 3:00pm conducted by the Facility Operations Manager, Connie Jackson.  The Carbon Fiber Technology Facility is at the Horizon Center, 92 Palladium Way, Oak Ridge. For more information, see below:
Fact Sheet
Map and Directions to the Facility

Future Forum Plans

The May CBES Forum features Latha Baskaran of the Environmental Sciences, Landscape Ecology and Regional Analysis Group. Her talk is entitled Aquatic Macroinvertebrates for Assessing Water Quality Effects Associated with Bioenergy. The forum will begin at 3:30pm in Building 1505, Rm. 189. Click here for abstract.

In June, the CBES Forum guest speaker will be Chris Lituma. Chris is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Center for Native Grasslands Management, Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His talk is titled Multi-scale Assessment of Wildlife Sustainability in Switchgrass Biofuel Feedstock Production.