The Axia Institute recently attended The Second Michigan Forest Bioeconomy Conference, titled “The Circular Bioeconomy: A Viable Path to a Sustainable Future.” The conference was held at the H Hotel in Midland and featured a variety of speakers who highlighted the circular nature of the bioeonomy and the critically important, low carbon contribution of renewable resources. The conference was keynoted by Mary Draves, Vice President and Chief Sustanability Officer of the The Dow Chemical Company, who discussed the Dow Chemical Company’s commitment to collaboration and outlined the corporation’s new 2025 Sustainability goals, in her address, titled “A Journey of Culture Change and Collaboration.”
John Hatfield, the Axia Institute’s Director of Marketing and Communications delivered a presentation titled “From Supply Chain to Value Chain, The Axia Institute Approach,” and outlined the ways in which companies are moving beyond their supply chains and are shifting to a value chain mindset by focusing on the needs of the consumer. Axia Institute researcher, Dr. Bahar Aliakbarian, also presented at the conference, discussing her research on the “Integrated Biorefinery of Industrial Food Solid Waste.” Using the by-products and wastes from the food and agriculture industries, specifically waste generated by olives and grapes, Dr. Aliakbarian demonstrated the various ways these by-products can be re-purposed to create valuable products and to help solve some of the pressing challenges presented by the disposal of food waste.
Also presenting at the conference was Dr. George Berghorn, Assistant Professor, School of Planning, Design, Michigan State University, on the topic of recycling salvaged structural lumber and the role automation can play in that process.