AdobeStock_245314562 - with wording on screens_edited.jpg

Plenary Program

AFCC Conference Plenary Program

Plenary Program Information


There will be three plenaries with featured keynote opinion and thought leaders as they discuss the state of play for the areas of growth opportunities. Attendees will learn about the necessary factors to successful commercialization and decarbonization in sustainable aviation fuels, alternative fuels, renewable chemicals (includes bioplastics), biomaterials, food ingredients and additives, flavors and fragrances, alternative proteins, and regenerative agriculture.


The plenaries at the conference will include diverse and dynamic speakers, a broad range of content from keynotes to panel discussions and innovation for a sustainable future. All other sessions will stop for the plenaries.

Lunch Plenary Session, Monday, November 15

Opening Remarks from USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack

Climate Smart Practices: Global Solutions to Decarbonizing Our Planet

Monday, November 15, 11:45 - 1:15 PM - Cherry Blossom Ballroom


This Plenary Sponsored by:

Tom Vilsack.jpg
roger wyse.jpg


Roger Wyse, Founder & Managing Partner, Spruce Capital Partners


Jeremy Baines.jpg

Jeremy Baines

North American President


Pramod Chaudhari.jpg

Pramod Chaudhari

Executive Chairman

Praj Industries

Ling Hua.jpg

Ling Hua

Senior Vice President, Head of Group Biotechnology


Valerie Reed.jpg

Valerie Reed

Acting Director, Bioenergy Technologies Office

U.S. Department of Energy

Hugh Welsh.jpg

Hugh Welsh

General Counsel, Secretary, and North American President


Andrew Wishnia 2.jpg

Andrew Wishnia

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Climate Policy

U.S. Department of Transportation






The theme for the plenary is how the private and public sector are working towards mitigating climate change in business and federal agency portfolios.  Current strategies and future ones targeting zero emissions in 2050 will be presented.  The number of countries announcing pledges to achieve net-zero emissions over the coming decades continues to grow.  But the pledges by governments and the private sector to date – even if fully achieved – fall well short of what is required to bring global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050 and give the world an even chance of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 °C.  The panelists will explain measures being taken by their organizations to reach carbon neutrality.  What techniques and scoring systems are being implemented?

Breakfast Plenary Session, Tuesday, November 16

Biobased Manufacturing and High Value Applications for Renewable Chemicals

Tuesday, November 16, 8:00 - 9:30 am - Cherry Blossom Ballroom

This Plenary Sponsored by:

jim lane.jpg


Jim Lane, Editor & Publisher, Biofuels Digest


John Bissell.jpg

John Bissell


Origin Materials

Sunil Chandran.jpg

Sunil Chandran

SVP and Head of R&D


Kevin Madden.jpg

Kevin Madden

SVP Platform Commercialization

Ginkgo Bioworks

Ajikumar Parail.jpg

Ajikumar Parayil


Manus Bio

​​​The dynamic panel will focus on past successes and future solutions.  The revolution of synthetic biology companies is flourishing and have reached a tipping point, with the development and manufacturing of new biological tools which result in everyday consumer products that are man-made versions from natural biological components found in nature. Companies such as Gevo, Amyris, Manus Bio, Ginkgo Bioworks, Genomatica, Origin Materials, just to name a few industrial biotechnology companies, have traveled and sometimes in a tumultuous storm, to achieve high value applications through gene-editing, vaccine development, flavors and fragrances, food ingredients, biomaterials and bioplastics, and alternative fuel research.  Despite current financial hardships and largest quarterly decrease in GDP, the industrial biotechnology companies experienced record levels of investment in 2020 and continued in 2021.  The panelists will discuss IPOs soaring, more money was available to early-stage industrial biotech companies through public markets, partnerships thriving, investments, and licensing agreements are all playing out.   They will describe their transformational pathways to building a resilient global biobased economy.

Lunch Plenary Session, Tuesday, November 16

Opening Remarks from Dr. Karama Neal, USDA Administrator for Rural Business-Cooperative Service

Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF): Challenges, Successes, and Future for SAF in 2022

Tuesday, November 16, 11:45 - 1:15 PM - Cherry Blossom Ballroom

Karama Neal.jpg

This Plenary Sponsored by:

Kilpatric Townsend Stockton.png
Steve Csonka.jpg


Steve Csonka, Executive Director, Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI)


Michael AuBuchon.jpg

Michael AuBuchon

Senior Director, Fuel Supply Management

Southwest Airlines

Pat Gruber.jpg

Pat Gruber



Terry Kulesa.jpg

Terry Kulesa


Red Rock Biofuels

Carol (Annie) Petsonk.jpg

Carol (Annie) Petsonk (invited)

Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for Aviation and International Affairs

U.S. Department of Transportation

​Most recently, the U.S. administration announced advances in the future of sustainable aviation fuels which encompasses coordinating leadership, innovation across federal agencies, aircraft manufacturers, airlines, SAF producers, airports, and non-government organizations to advance the use of cleaner and more sustainable fuels with the production of three billion gallons of SAF and reduce aviation emissions by 20% in 2030 leading to a fully zero-carbon aviation sector by 2050.  The panelists will discuss how the aviation sector will meet that demand and deliver the social and economic benefits of aviation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  There are a number of producers on the verge of commercial-scale- production, incentives such as blenders tax credits are on the horizon for global participation, but there are still challenges in the future of SAF.  What advancements will see in this nascent sector in 2022?