The hearing also considered advancements in bioenergy research and the potential role of this resource in a cleaner energy transition. Lastly, the hearing was intended to help inform future legislation to support and guide the United States’ bioenergy RD&D enterprise. Witnesses included:

  • Dr. Jonathan Male, Chief Scientist for Energy Processes and Materials, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL);

  • Dr. Andrew Leakey, Director of the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign;

  • Dr. Laurel Harmon, Vice President of Government Affairs, LanzaTech; and

  • Dr. Eric Hegg, Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Michigan State University.


[ Dr. Andrew ] Leakey testified about the need for next-generation bioenergy and bioproducts as part of a decarbonized economy. According to Leakey, there is “enormous potential to produce abundant supplies of renewable bioenergy and bioproducts from plant biomass,” which would:

  • Develop a more just economy in which additional individuals and communities would receive economic benefit from the production of fuels and chemicals, including in rural areas;

  • Reduce reliance on foreign sources of energy and improve resilience in the face of international conflicts or natural disasters;

  • Support farming communities in developing a more diverse, sustainable, and resilient agricultural system; and

  • Counteract the progression of climate change.


Watch Dr. Andrew Leakey's testimony