Track 4 Session Details

AFCC Conference Breakout Sessions

Breakout Sessions are 90 minutes, each one has one moderator with a maximum of four speakers.


Breakout sessions will be focused on the following three subject areas:



Track 4 Breakout Session Details

Synthetic Biology, Alternative Proteins, Regenerative Agriculture, Food, Fiber, Biofuels

Monday, November 7, 2022 - RiverView 5


Session 1: 8 AM to 9:30 AM : Process Development Tools for Advanced Biofuels

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Moderator: Steve Hartig, Advisor Consultant, Hartig and Associates


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​Robert Freerks

VP Product Development

Strategic Biofuels

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Dan Giuliani

Manager, Capital Project Services


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Tad Hepner

Technical Sales Manager – North America


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Asfia Qureshi

Head of Application Technology


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Zhang Yan

Research Director

National Corn to Ethanol

​Robert Freerks, VP Product Development, Strategic Biofuels

Carbon Intensity and Renewable Fuels—Feedstocks and Pathways for the Future

First generation renewable fuels are produced from energy crops which have somewhat limited availability and utilize airable land that can be used for food production in many cases. Food crops used for fuel production incur Carbon Intensity penalties for indirect land use change and also cause issues including Food-for-Fuels concerns. Feedstocks such as animal fats or used cooking oils are limited in availability and expanding the supply radius entails collection from more diffuse sources incurring additional costs and energy utilization to deliver feedstock to processing facilities. Understanding the Carbon Intensity of current fuels will help guide decisions on which feedstocks are suitable for second generation renewable fuels production. Wastes and residues are widely available as feedstocks for fuel production but conversion of these materials from solids to liquids entails complex chemistry. When processed using biomass gasification and Fischer-Tropsch production of hydrocarbons, CO2 from the process can be captured and sequestered allowing further reduction of CI. This paper analyzes the current CI of biobased fuels and compares them to fuels that can be readily produced from waste feedstocks such as Municipal Solid Waste, agricultural wastes, or forestry and timber industry wastes and residues. The CI of current fuels range from slightly better than conventional fuels to roughly 80% reduction in GHG emissions from conventional fuels. New technologies and processes allow use of waste as feedstock coupled with advanced processing schemes resulting in fuel production that can displace 4 gal of conventional fuels for every gal of renewable fuel produced.


Dan Giuliani, Manager, Capital Project Services, Becht

Common Problems and Solutions for Executing Alternative Fuels Projects

As witnessed by this conference, there is much momentum around low/no carbon fuels. But at the end of the day, the idea still must be developed, funded, engineered and constructed before any of the benefits are realized. Economies of scale require many of these projects to be BIG, and the statistical probability of achieving desired product, cost, schedule and safety are poor – even for the Majors who have decades of experience. Considering many of these projects are pursued by smaller consortiums there are several pitfalls which can materialize: organization, funding, novel technology, operations interface and lessons learned. -Lack of a strong “owners” team causes significantly more interfaces which must be managed carefully. - Funding sources are no longer from an internal capital budget and may come from venture capital and DOE which bring their own unique challenges. -Novel technology and scale up can be a big risk, in particular with the desire/need to get to market quickly -Operations teams may either be developed from scratch for the project or out-sourced. Either option frequently means less than adequate representation during the key FEL stages when big issues could be avoided. -The application of critical lessons learned and ensuring a controlled deployment of critical knowledge transfer is key to delivering the outcome promised. This presentation will consider the challenges and opportunities for major capital investment projects

undertaken by non-traditional parties.

Tad Hepner, Commercial Development and Technical Sales Manager, Clariant

Clariant's Global Commercialization of 2G Biofuels

A shortage of fossil resources, energy security, climate change, environmental protection – these are the issues concerning us today in the energy sector. Alternative sources of energy must be found to reduce our dependence on oil and nowhere is this more evident than in the transport sector. In the European Union, the US and other major economic areas, politicians have laid down basic frameworks to promote the use of climate-friendly biofuels. Many companies show a growing interest in the production of ethanol from renewable lignocellulosic resources, such as agricultural residues. These resources are created in sufficient quantities worldwide as a by-product of current agricultural practices, as in the case of straw from cereal production. The sunliquid® process developed by Clariant meets all the requirements of a technically and economically efficient, innovative process for converting agricultural residues into climate-friendly biofuel. Using process-integrated enzyme production, optimized enzymes, simultaneous conversion of cellulose and hemicellulose into ethanol and an energy-efficient process design, it has been possible to overcome technological challenges and sufficiently reduce production costs in order to arrive at a commercially viable basis. Since 2009, Clariant has been successfully operating a first pilot plant at its research facility in Munich. This pilot plant is capable of producing up to two tons of ethanol per year. Since July 2012, Clariant has been operating a precommercial plant in Straubing, which produces up to 1,000 metric tons of cellulosic ethanol every year. In October 2021, Clariant also completed the construction of its first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Podari, Romania.

Asfia Qureshi, Head of Application Technology, BASF

Innovative Tools to Create Versatility in the Biofuels Market

As experts in protein design, BASF Enzymes uses a variety of innovative tools to create successful enzymes. These tools deliver benefits such as viscosity reduction enabling bioethanol plants to run higher throughput with existing capital resources, extremely broad pH and temperature range, corn oil and ethanol yield increase for high margin environments, cost optimization in low margin environments and a unique mode of action leading to lower osmotic stress. Commercially realized outcomes of designed enzymes relevant to the biofuels industry will be presented.


Zhang Yan, Research Director, National Corn to Ethanol

Low Cost Low Energy Pathway to Make Cellulosic Sugars and Ethanol from Corn Stover

In the past years, all commercial cellulosic ethanol plants utilizing corn stover in the U.S. have been shut down due to high cost and other reasons, so it is imperative to lower production costs but maintaining high sugar and ethanol yield. Recently, NCERC has collaborated with the University of Louisville to use a room temperature pretreatment pathway to maximize ethanol production from corn stover, and turn the residual biomass as a plasticizer for concrete application. This low-cost and low-energy technology breakthrough with potential to be retrofit at the Gen 1 demonstration plant at NCERC includes several critical steps: (1) An integrated compaction and preprocessing (using low-cost chemical) is practiced in the field when harvesting corn stover before storage and transportation; (2) Without particle size reduction, the preprocessed material is placed in a plow mixer to run at room temperature for 6 hr., followed by enzymatic hydrolysis at 50oC for 24 hr.; (3) After liquid and solid separation of the hydrolysate, the sugar stream is inoculated with a GMO yeast, which can convert glucose, xylose and arabinose to ethanol, and the final beer is distilled to make 200 proof ethanol, a feedstock to make SAF; (4) The residual biomass can be used as a plasticizer for concrete application; We plan to scale up the overall processing at 100 L to generate robust data for TEA and LCA work. This processing will turn corn stover into several value-added products.

Session 2: 10 AM to 11:30 AM:  Technologies and Methods to Improve the Profitability of Green Crude and Chemicals and Advance Carbon Capture

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Moderator: Joanne Ivancic, Executive Director, Advanced Biofuels USA


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Marilyn Bruno


Aequor Inc.

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Taraka Dale

Program Manager, Agile Biofoundry

Los Alamos National Lab

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Lieve Laurens

Principal Scientist

National Renewable Energy Lab

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Josephine Pace

President & CEO

Alfa Green Solutions

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Marilene Pavan

Manager, HTP Synthetic Biology


Algae in cultivation and yeast used to ferment plant and other cellulosic residues and waste for conversion into biofuels and biobased coproducts (food, feed, nutraceuticals, chemicals, plastics, materials, etc.) rapidly clump, which block the organisms’ access to light and nutrients and require that operators shut down the systems, harvest the biomass, disinfect the equipment and seed the systems to start the process over again. This repeated process increases costs of energy, water, biocides, labor and feedstocks, resulting in operational inefficiencies that erode profits. The panel will address ways to increase yields of biomass through various technologies and methods: drop-in treatment to de-clump the biomass and boosts the growth of algae and yeast in bioreactors by up to 40% in half the time, use of chemical accelerators, mechanical agitation, engineered strains of algae or yeast, etc. in the cultivation of algae and the fermentation systems. In open pond algae cultivation, methods to provide crop protection against air and water-borne predators (amoebaphelids), allowing harvest cycles to be extended. In fermentation with yeast, treatment that eliminate the need for antibiotics, which are under heightened regulatory scrutiny because they remain in residues (brewers’ yeast) sold as animal feed and considered a contributor to the acceleration of the incidence of antimicrobial resistant pathogens – the Superbugs. Additionally, the panel will address methods to stabilize biofuels in storage, initiating the problem of their separating out water that rapidly initiates corrosion in tanks, pipelines and engine components.

​Session 3: 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM: Regenerative Agriculture as A Solution

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Moderator: Joel Stone, President, ConVergInce Advisers and EVP Lee Enterprises Consultants


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Keith Berns


Green Cover Seed

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Laura Decker


Prolific Earth Sciences, Inc

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Keith Pitts

Senior Vice President, Sustainability and Regulatory Strategy

Pro Farm Group, Inc.

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Karen O’Brien

Senior Manager

Truterra, LLC

Join this diverse panel of thought leaders in Regenerative Agriculture that are identifying and delivering on ideas and solutions to improve soil health while sequestering carbon and improving the water holding capacity of soil. Each will offer perspectives from their point of view in terms of the approaches that can be taken towards improving the soil microbiome and the impact it has on agricultural economics and security of the food supply chain. This will truly be a do not miss panel that offers some converging insights from different perspectives into the types of solutions that can have an influence in meeting a net zero (and potentially net negative) carbon economy using agriculture. Regenerative Agriculture can offer diverse solutions towards a common goal of carbon emission reductions while also serving to improve food security and supply.

​Session 4: 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM: Food Solutions through Protein Fermentation

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Moderator: Joel Stone, President, ConVergInce Advisers and EVP Lee Enterprises Consultants


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Ranjan Patnaik


The Every Company

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Michael Tai

Co-Founder & CEO

Boston Bioworks

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Bryan Tracy


Superbrewed Foods


Qiaosong George Zheng


Celf Nutrition

Food Proteins produced by fermentation are fast becoming integrated into modern food products as a means to reduce the carbon footprint of protein production through agriculture and meet the increasing world wide demand for a secure food supply. We have assembled a diverse panel of company leaders delivering on a variety of food protein solutions utilizing industrial biotechnology and synthetic biology. These proteins are sustainable and low carbon solutions, offering a wide range of products across a wide range of consumer needs. In many cases the fermentation derived products offer or exhibit clear benefits and advantages over the materials they are replacing. We will learn about the company’s experiences as they have made their journey towards commercialization. Each panelist will offer perspectives from their point of view in terms of where they see the timelines to commercial products, and what are the differentiating factors that their protein technology platform offers. We will learn about a wide variety of food protein options available today and to be offered in the future.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2022 - RiverView 5

​Session 5: 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM: Precision Fermentation: Building Microbial Strains for Commercial Readiness

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Moderator: Jason Webber, Managing Director, Sustainable Conversion Ventures


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Patrick Boyle

Head of Codebase

Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc.

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Sunil Chandran

Chief Science Officer and Head of R&D


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Larry Feinberg



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Lori Giver

Chief Science and Sustainability Officer

Calysta Inc.

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Alex Hutagalung


Pyrone Systems

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Thomas Jeffries


Xylome Corporation

Peter Boyle, Head of Codebase, Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc.

Delivering better engineered organisms with Ginkgo Bioworks

Ginkgo is building a platform to enable customers to program cells as easily as we can program computers. Ginkgo is the leading horizontal platform for cell programming - we use automation and software to deliver engineered organisms to our customers. The company's platform is enabling biotechnology applications across diverse markets, from food and agriculture to industrial chemicals to pharmaceuticals. Ginkgo’s platform has enabled a wide range of biomanufacturing applications, from the development of novel enzymes, to the production of complex proteins, and natural products. In this session, Patrick Boyle, Head of Codebase at Ginkgo, will share examples of how Ginkgo’s platform has been used to help our customers deliver biobased products.

Sunil Chandran, Chief Science Officer and Head of R&D, Amyris

Clean Manufacturing Powered by Biology

Amyris has manufactured 14 molecules at commercial scale over the past decade using our Lab to Market™ technology platform. This platform integrates highly optimized molecular biology and analytical tools, sophisticated robotic systems, and proprietary computational programs and statistical models, to optimize industrial microbial strains, and develop scalable fermentation and purification processes. Every molecule that is commercialized results in the onboarding of new tools and operations that accelerates commercialization of the next target molecule. This presentation will cover details of the Lab to Market™ technology platform that enables Amyris scientists to rapidly cycle through a data-driven strain and production optimization process as well as case studies of how this platform was applied to produce ingredients at commercial scale.

Larry Feinberg, CEO, KnipBio

From Concept to Commercialization: A Methanol-Based Biotechnology Platform for Aquaculture

As aquaculture production must double in the next 30 years to meet the increased demand in fish consumption, our industry needs to offer innovative technologies to unlock key issues while being sustainable, environmentally conscious and appealing to both the feed manufacturer and the farmer. The aquaculture industry has higher demands for its product than ever, while production inefficiencies due to mortalities and constraints on existing infrastructure potentially constricts future growth. Creating functional products for aquafeed that support healthy fish while at the same time offering the highest quality products consumers expect is one of the challenges that KnipBio is tackling. KnipBio’s single cell protein (SCP) technology platform enables a versatile, functional protein effective in practical formulations for juvenile stages of growth and RAS-based settings. Application examples include off-flavor remediation, juvenile health, and pigmentation. The lack of antinutrient factors, as well as the presence of antioxidant carotenoids and prebiotics with immune-enhancing properties have the potential to lead to healthier fish and shrimp. By targeting specific issues encountered in established production systems, KnipBio Meal (KBM) products significantly decrease production costs while increasing the survival and quality of aquatic animals on the farm, which make operations more profitable. KnipBio will present an update on its technical progress including recent strides in its R&D platform and animal trials, its recent CFIA approval for salmon feeds and other developments in the field as the company brings its first products to market.


Lori Giver, Chief Science and Sustainability Officer, Calysta Inc.

Calysta's Journey to Scaling up Production and Reducing Carbon Intensity

Calysta is a leader in single cell protein production, focused on enabling a future where the world’s growing population has guaranteed food security. Calysta’s proprietary technology is the fermentation of low cost, land free carbon sources into protein for new feed and food products, creating sustainable, high value nutritional ingredients that don’t interfere with the human food chain. Calysta has joined with Adisseo, a worldwide animal nutrition leader, to create a joint venture, Calysseo. Commissioning and start-up activities have now begun at Calysseo’s first industrial-scale facility that will produce 20,000 tons of FeedKind Aqua protein annually in Chongqing, China. This strategic partnership directly addresses one of the most important opportunities in aquaculture – to provide high quality seafood without adding extra pressure to the environment. If used instead of conventional protein, 100,000 tons of FeedKind could save between 420,000-450,000 tons of wild-caught fish. Used instead of vegetable proteins, the same quantity of FeedKind could free up as much as 535 km 2 of land and would save 9 billion liters of water. Even with these remarkable sustainability credentials, Calysta is committed to further reducing the carbon intensity of our protein production. Calysta’s sustainability will be outlined as a series of steps, including integration of complementary technologies, that will be incorporated into future plant design. Capture and sequestration of the CO2 from our fermenters will enable net zero protein production, while a further step of conversion of CO2 back to methane will enable a circular process to maximizing yield from our feedstock.

Alex Hutagalung, CEO, Pyrone Systems

A Product-Driven Green Chemistry Platform For The Future

We are entirely dependent on petrochemicals to build our physical world. From the clothes we wear and the devices we use to the food that we eat, these products only exist because of the six core chemicals produced from fossil fuels. To produce a more circular economy, we cannot just replace what petrochemistry has built. At Pyrone Systems, we are building a green chemistry platform to make sustainable chemical products with broad functionality. Our first product is a new natural insecticide found in the patchouli plant, but only in trace amounts. We have chosen an insecticide as our first product to address the problem of insecticide resistance with a natural and safer alternative to toxic synthetic insecticides. In order to produce it reliably and consistently, we have developed an efficient biomanufacturing process that combines biology with chemistry. It all starts with our platform molecule, triacetic acid lactone, or TAL. As a bioprivileged molecule, TAL is a versatile precursor that can be upgraded to a wide range of products that would be difficult to reproduce using conventional petrochemicals. We make TAL using a patented biosynthesis process that starts with fatty acids as the raw material. Fatty acids are advantaged in maximum yield over the traditional substrate of sugar and there are ample sources as by-products from the production of plant-based oils. We then convert TAL to products using known chemistry, in one step. Our unique approach to manufacturing will start a green chemistry revolution that breaks our addiction to petrochemicals.


Thomas Jeffries, President, Xylome Corporation

Sustainable palm oil substitute from a cellulosic, lipogenic yeast fermentation

Palm oil is the planet’s most widely used vegetable oil. It is found in thousands of products and often used as a biodiesel or cooking oil. Unfortunately, its production from tropical forested regions is also environmentally destructive. To meet this challenge, Xylome scientists’ have developed a novel palm oil substitute - Yoil™ - based on the fermentation of corn starch or cellulosic and hemicellulosic sugars from agricultural residues. We modified a novel yeast, Lipomyces starkeyi, to overproduce a highly pure yeast oil and have further modified our strain for the production of cellulosic and hemicellulosic enzymes. Yoil™ can be manufactured competitively and sustainably at scale. The engineered hyper-lipogenic yeast fermentation process can be integrated with conventional fuel ethanol manufacture by using fermentation byproducts and fiber hydrolysates. Following extraction, the highly pure yeast oil is like refined oil obtained from palm oil plantations, but it avoids the destruction of tropical forests, is produced domestically, requires fewer refining steps, and can be used in foods and cosmetics. A grant from the Department of Energy EERE program enabled Xylome to modify the L. starkeyi genetic system so the engineered yeast can use pretreated cellulosic feedstocks. The resulting reduction in feedstock costs could enable production of biodiesel and jet fuel precursors from agricultural residues. Xylome expects to commercialize this novel sustainable technology through collaboration and partnerships with major grain processors and palm oil users.

​Session 6: 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM: Development of Alternative Proteins, Applications, and Regulatory Requirements (GRAS Ingredients)

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Moderator: Tony Pavel, Deputy General Counsel, Perfect Day



Jeremiah Fasano Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Food Additive Safety



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Deepti Kulkarni


Covington & Burling LLP

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Manoj Kumar

Chief Technology Officer & Vice

President Plant Protein

Louis Dreyfus Company

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Padmakumar Pillai

Senior Advisor, R&D Scientific and Regulatory Affairs


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Eric Schulze

VP of Product and Regulation

Upside Foods

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Debbie Yaver

Chief Science Officer

Nature's Fynd

The panelists will focus on regulatory pathways and new advancements in the development of alternative proteins, the science and applications established will be presented by the dynamic leaders in the session.  The speakers in this session are using tools such as precision fermentation, cell culture and traditional crop science for the production of proteins.  These different approaches result in alternative proteins that form the bedrock for industrial biotechnology applications for everyday food, feed and other beneficial products.