February 20, 2008

Forecast forces cancellation of biofuels symposium

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Officials at the Coal Extraction and Utilization Research Laboratory at Southern Illinois University Carbondale have canceled a symposium and panel discussion on biofuels scheduled for Thursday in West Frankfort due to an impending winter storm.

The National Weather Service and area forecasters are predicting snow and possible freezing rain to hit the area early Thursday and into Friday. John S. Mead, director of the center, said officials there hope to reschedule the event for sometime in March.

The event, titled "Biofuels: Ethanol, biodiesel and beyond," was to feature a panel of experts and a question-and-answer period. It is the third in a series sponsored by the University aimed at updating the public on advances surrounding coal technology. Officials are inviting lay people, elected leaders, educators and business people interested in gaining more understanding of coal energy technology issues.

Previously, the University held discussions on coal gasification technology and the future of coal mining.

The Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center at SIUC is co-sponsoring the event. The coal research center and Connect SI, a local organization aimed at connecting public and private resources to create a sustainable, globally competitive economy, organized the event.

Mead said the center would provide further information for those already registered for the event at a later date.