Center for Digital Agriculture

INFEWS and Circular Bioeconomy Systems Workshop

July 24–26, 2024 • iHotel and Illinois Conference Center • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Workshop Overview

In response to the complex challenges within the nexus of food, energy, water systems and circular bioeconomy, tremendous effort has been made by National Science Foundation via its INFEWS (Innovative Nexus for Food, Energy and Water Systems) program, and other federal agencies (such as USDA) and professional societies (such as ASABE) in the past decade. This workshop is envisioned as a comprehensive summary event to bring together stakeholders involved in INFEWS projects to share the findings and insights on energy, food, water, and the circular bioeconomy.

This interdisciplinary workshop will facilitate knowledge sharing, collaboration, and dialogue to identify key research gaps, priorities, and solutions for promoting circularity and sustainability. Through presentations, discussion and networking opportunities, participants will collectively address pressing challenges and advance research efforts aimed at enhancing the resilience and sustainability of agriculture and food systems.

Illustration of a paradigm of environment-enhancing energy (E2E) and circular bioeconomy by converting biowaste (food waste, algal bloom, and sewage sludge) via hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) into biocrude; the biocrude is then upgraded into transportation fuels and bio-binder for asphalt; nutrients in the post-hydrothermal wastewater (PHW) are recovered and reused for biomass production.

Registration Form



Wednesday, July 24 

3:00 p.m.

Check-In, Registration – iHotel

5:30 p.m.

Welcome Reception

Light refreshments and appetizers will be provided

Thursday, July 25 

7:30 a.m.


Refreshments and light food will be provided.

8:15 a.m.


Workshop Organizing Committee

8:30 a.m.

Keynote Presentations + Q&A
Paving the Road to a Circular Bioeconomy

Presenter: Dr. James Jones, University of Florida

What have we learned from Innovative Nexus for Food Energy and Water Systems?

Presenter: NFEWS – Dr. Nancy Love, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Sustainable Aviation Fuel to battle climate change

Presenter: Dr. Joshua Heyne, Washington State University/PNNL

10:15 a.m.

Coffee Break

10:30 a.m.

Lightning Presentations + Q&A
Session 1: Food — production, safety and security, social acceptance
Session 2: Water resources

12:15 p.m.

Catered Lunch

1:15 p.m

Panel Discussion – FEWS

The expert panel will collectively answer questions from the audience.

Panelists: All morning presenters, Dr. Ximing Cai (UIUC), and Dr. Phillip Savage (PSU)

2:15 p.m.

Invited Presentations
Session 3: Energy – bioenergy, renewable energy, efficiency, energy security
Session 4: Circular Bioeconomy systems

3:15 p.m.

Coffee Break

3:30 p.m

Panel Discussion – Circular Bioeconomy

Panelists: Dr. John Reid (UIUC), Dr. Victoria Finkenstadt (USDA)

4:30 p.m

Plenary Session – Summing up the day

5:00 p.m.


6:30 p.m.

Banquet @ iHotel

Friday, July 26

7:30 a.m

Refreshments & Light Food

8:30 a.m

Plenary Presentation

9:15 a.m


Focus on challenges and future of FEWS-Circular Bioeconomy

9:30 a.m

Breakout Session I

Outcomes, achievements, current state of FEWS

10:20 a.m.

Coffee Break

10:40 a.m

Breakout Session II

Challenges, research gaps, and strategies

11:30 a.m

Plenary Discussion

Strategies, interdisciplinary collaboratives, and outreach

12:00 p.m.


1:00 p.m

Site Visits

Energy Farm, Pilot HTL Reactor, Center for Digital Agriculture 

4:00 p.m.


Workshop Venue, Lodging Options & Travel Info

Click on each tab below for more information on the workshop venue, lodging options, and how to get around the Champaign-Urbana area.

iHotel and Illinois Conference Center


Our workshop will be take place at the iHotel & Illinois Conference Center located at 1900 S 1st St, Champaign, IL 61820.

Where should I park?
The iHotel & Illinois Conference Center offers free onsite parking so you don’t need to worry about paying the meter or parking tickets.

🔗 Learn more about the venue

iHotel Room Block

For this workshop we have a dedicated room block with a special discounted rate of $179 USD/night at the iHotel (connected to the Illinois Conference Center). To claim this special rate, reservations must be made by June 24, 2024.

How claim this special rate and book a room

  • 🖥️ Online: Book your room by using this dedicated iHotel reservation link then input the following information in the appropriate fields:
    • Block Code: NSF2024
    • Guest Password: @5vZP
  • ☎️ By Phone: Call +12178195000 to talk with a representative and let them know you would like to book a room in block code NSF2024


If you would like alternative lodging. Below is a list of potential accommodations nearby:

Champaign-Urbana is easy to get to and navigate. Conveniently situated off three major interstates, we’re nearly equidistant from Chicago, Indianapolis and St. Louis. Transportation options include:

Our award-winning mass transit district will help get you around, as will our rentable bikes and e-bikes or walk-in our connected districts! We also have taxi cab services and ride-sharing services available.