Two distinct hallmarks of the 21st Century that have already become central to our lives and business thinking are a reliance on social networking and a concern about sustainability. So perhaps it's not surprising (though it is remarkable) that a government agency has developed a website for shared knowledge about biofuel resources.
The Department of Energy is committed to developing bio-mass derived fuels to power some portion of the nation's energy needs. To meet that goal, the Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) has been charged with creating the Bioenergy Knowledge Discovery Framework (KDF), which is now online at:
The primary function of the KDF is to act like a social networking site for all of the people who need access to credible and integrated biofuel information, including:
- Industry analysts
- Science researchers
- Private individuals
Whereas in the past various agencies have produced useful data, maps, publications, and reports on US biofuel resources, that information has often remained relatively isolated. The new KDF platform will allow all interested parties in the bioenergy community to access and share information, compounding its value through collation. The website is highly interactive and visual, and though registration is required for some uses, much of the site is accessible to anyone visiting it.
The KDF's usefulness to the business industry will be providing information on the locations and amounts of resources and refining facilities to aid business in identifying future investment opportunities.
It remains to be seen how the KDF will grow and be used in the future. It is fairly technical right now, but as more users contribute to it, it should become broader in its application. The notion that diverse stakeholders (including the public) should have ready access to energy data through in an open-platform format already represents a sea-change in thinking about resources and materials.
Government funding for alternative energy development continues to be at an all-time high, even during the economic downturn. On April 20, Energy Secretary Stephen Chu announced a commitment of $130M from the Advanced Research Programs Agency — Energy (ARPA-E) for 5 areas of energy research. President Obama created ARPA-E in 2009 as part of the stimulus package. The agency has so far received $363 million in federal funding, with an additional $650 million requested by the President in his budget proposal for next fiscal year.
If you are a bioenergy or other life science researcher, lab manager, or equipment supplier, Biotechnology Calendar Inc.'s Vendor Showcase and BioResearch Product Faire™ premium trade show events offer excellent opportunities for you to network and share information about laboratory research tools and the needs of researchers. Visit the Biotechnology Calendar Inc. website to view a list of shows nationwide, sign up to attend a show, or have a representative call you to discuss pricing options and the benefits of exhibiting with a full-service company. BCI is staffed by professionals with 18 years' experience catalyzing research by bringing together the makers of fine equipment and the scientists who use that equipment to change the world, one discovery at a time.