Image depicting bioeconomy and biorefining
2024 RBI Spring Workshop

The Emerging Bioeconomy and the Future of Biorefining


Monday, March 4, 2024 | 1:00 p.m - 5:00 p.m. EDT (Banquet Dinner at 6.00 p.m.)
Tuesday, March 5, 2024 | 8:00 a.m - 12:30 p.m. EDT
sponsored by

The Renewable Bioproducts Institute

Location: Georgia Tech Exhibition Hall 
460 4th St NW, Atlanta, GA 30332

The Renewable Bioproducts Institute will host a one-and-a-half-day in-person workshop on "The Emerging Bioeconomy and the Future of Biorefining.“ Attendees will learn about cutting-edge developments in this up and coming field and have an opportunity to network with leading researchers and peers from the industry. Speakers include:

  • Frank Gupton, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Blake Simmons, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
  • Mi Li, University of Tennessee
  • Bronson Bullock, University of Georgia
  • Kim Nelson, CTO Nanocellulose, GranBio USA

and many more...

The emerging bioeconomy signifies a shift towards utilizing biological resources for sustainable production, with biorefining at its core. Biorefineries play a pivotal role in converting biomass into biofuels, biochemicals, and bioproducts, fostering a circular economy, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, and promoting environmentally friendly industrial practices. This symposium will bring together academia, national labs, and industry to learn from each other and explore the frontiers of this emerging area.


Georgia Tech's Research Community

The workshop provides an excellent opportunity for external organizations to interact with Georgia Tech students and faculty involved in renewable bioproducts research. Attending the symposium offers a comprehensive and immersive experience, providing access to knowledge, networking opportunities, and a platform for collaboration that can positively impact your understanding and involvement in this rapidly evolving field.

Registration is Open

Space is limited. Register today to reserve your spot!

Student Poster Session & Guidelines

The workshop includes a poster session that is intended to provide industry interaction for RBI fellows and to communicate the breadth of research supported by RBI. Even if a project is just getting started this year, students are advised to present their work as it is a good opportunity to share the project scope and goals and receive useful feedback. 

The poster session is on March 4th at 5-6pm in-person, and will be followed by a banquet dinner with keynote presentation.   

 Please visit this webpage for guidelines on the poster session.


           Time                        Activity
12:30 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.2024 RBI Spring Workshop Registration
1:00 p.m. - 1:10 p.m.


Speaker: Carson Meredith | Executive Director, Georgia Tech Renewable Bioproducts Institute

1:10 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Strengthening the U.S. Pharmaceutical Supply Chain in a Post-Pandemic World

Speaker: B. Frank Gupton, Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering, Virginia Commonwealth University

2:00 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Lignin-Derived Phenol – The New Platform of Biorefineries

Speaker: Carsten Sievers, School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Tech

2:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.Break
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Towards Integrated Biorefining Processes in Kraft Mills by Multicomponent Separations and Catalytic Conversion

Speaker: Sankar Nair, School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Tech

4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Student Panel: The Future of Biorefineries: Student Perspectives on the Challenges in Multi-domain Research Projects

Panelists: Marco Avendano, Jianpei Liao, Thomas Wang; Wenbo Pang, Xu Xintong, Georgia Tech

5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.Poster Session & Reception
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Dinner Followed by Keynote Presentation

Keynote: The Role of Technology Development in Supporting Georgia's Forest Sector 

Speaker: Andres Villegas, President & CEO, Georgia Forestry Association

9:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.Continental Breakfast
9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Future of Biorefining

Speaker: Blake A. Simmons, Division Director of Biological Systems & Engineering, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Panel: Hot Topics in Life Cycle Assessment

Panelists: Patritsia Stathatou, Research Scientist, Renewable Bioproducts Institute; Valerie Thomas, School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Georgia Tech; Matthew Realff, School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Tech

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Data-driven Biorefinery Process Control: Waste Refinery Under Feedstock Uncertainty

Speaker: Zhaohui (Julene) Tong, School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Tech

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.Networking Lunch & Poster Session
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. 

Biorefinery and Modification of Plant Cell Walls: Where Do We Stand?

Speaker: Mi Li, School of Natural Resources, University of Tennessee

2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. 

Keynote: Enabling NET-ZERO: Meeting the Global Demand for Sustainable Aviation Fuel and Low Carbon Bioproducts

Speaker: Kim Nelson, CTO Nanocellulose, GranBio USA

3:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. Break
3:45 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. 

Current Issues and Factors in Quantification of Forest Biomass Feedstocks

Speaker: Bronson Bullock, School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia

4:45 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. 

Closing Remarks

Speakers: RBI Spring Conference Chairs - Carson Meredith, Matthew Realff, Andy Bommarius, Zhaohui (Julene) Tong

Accommodations - Local Hotels

Georgia Tech is located in the heart of Midtown Atlanta and has a wide variety of hotel options to choose from. Georgia Tech has partnered with a variety of nearby hotels to provide discounted rates to our visitors. View hotel list and pricing on our Campus Travel page.


The RBI Spring Workshop is at the Georgia Tech Exhibition Hall

If you are walking / drop-off, please use the address: Georgia Tech Exhibition Hall, 460 4th St NW, Atlanta, GA 30332.

If you are taking the campus transportation Stinger route, the Gold Route operates on an east-west route through the heart of Georgia Tech’s campus, providing service from the Midtown MARTA Station to the Transit Hub and Student Center.

If you are coming by a personal vehicle, the closest parking is adjacent to the Exhibition hall - W2 parking - GPS address is 355 Ferst Drive NW, Atlanta, GA.