ST. LOIUS -- Biodiesel is one of the most significant solutions to harnessing solar energy. Land on highway right-of-ways is an untapped but abundant resource to grow biodiesel raw materials, like oilseed crops, and can grow enough materials to satisfy food and energy needs.

Those are just some of the many opportunities documented by some of the nation's foremost energy leaders in the 2009 Briefing report: "High Yield Pathways for Production."

Their clean energy solutions represent the type of innovation that President Barack Obama says is a necessity for the nation.

President Obama told energy entrepreneurs gathered in Washington, D.C. in late March that, "Your country needs you to mount a historic effort to end, once and for all, our dependence on foreign oil. And in this difficult endeavor, in this pursuit on which I believe our future depends, your country will support you. Your president will support you."

The report released today summarizes findings about biodiesel, which is already the only commercially available advanced biofuel and the most diverse fuel on the planet. The findings are the result of the first symposium hosted by the Center for Evergreen Energy that convened alternative fuels research, industry and policy representatives on Nov. 21, 2008, at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis.

"The Center for Evergreen Energy looks forward to aiding the biodiesel industry in strategies to meet the demand for renewable energy," said Jay DeLong, Board Member of the Center for Evergreen Energy. The national center links global research, business and policy issues to improve products, processes, environmental acceptance and public adoption of sustainable energy solutions. "We plan on sharing this report with government agencies and the scientific community to give some direction to what research is needed to expand feedstocks for biodiesel production."

The algae working group, a promising source of biodiesel began their discussion with the important premise that a permanent energy solution depends on plants to capture some of the 20,000 terawatts of sunlight that fall on the earth.

The attendees expanded upon the need for a "systems engineering approach" that considers multiple feedstocks and multiple byproducts that can be potentially complimentary with other aspects of bioenergy production. The algae group also examined opportunities to convert waste products into value-added co-products as well as options to co-locate biodiesel plants near coal-fired power plants to allow the algae to help sequester the carbon dioxide that is co-produced during combustion.

The near-term feedstock work group recognized an opportunity to double yields for several major crops as well as research and policy needs. The long-term work group assessed that researchers, industry, government and policy makers should work to set goals, much like the Apollo Mission, and then work backwards to achieve the goals. The long-term group discussed barriers for achieving ideal production and then formulated ideas to solve these barriers in a sustainable manner.

"The National Biodiesel Board applauds these energy leaders for their contributions to ensuring our feedstock supply continues to meet the growing demand for high quality biodiesel in environmentally sustainable ways," said Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board, the national trade association of the biodiesel industry, which has multiple initiatives to advance the production options of biodiesel. "Feedstock development is one of our top priorities." Biodiesel is a sustainable, domestically produced, renewable alternative to diesel fuel and can be made from plant oils, animal fats, recycled restaurant grease or new sources such as algae.

SOURCE: National Biodiesel Board.