“We’re five months away from the first in the nation Iowa caucuses. As the Caucus approaches, candidates and pundits will undoubtedly discuss America’s need to become energy independent. The good news is that America has a blueprint for becoming energy independent through renewable energy sources, and that blueprint is right here in Iowa.” Iowa Governor Terry Branstad discusses Iowa’s energy independence in an opinion piece in The Gazette. Read article on The Gazette Website
A delegation from the Bioeconomy Institute and other organizations took to the road this summer to learn more about modular manufacturing. The team visited Roeslein & Associates, Inc. of St. Louis, a leader in engineering, modular fabrication, and construction of industrial plant facilities.
John Demoulin (center), director of sales and marketing at Roeslein & Associates Inc., (center) leads a BEI team on a plant tour to explore modular manufacturing and its application to biomass processing.
The visit was part of BEI’s new initiative to study modular chemical processing systems and their potential to economically produce fuels and chemicals. These mass produced systems would be ideal for stranded and dispersed energy and carbon resources, such as widely distributed biomass or fossil fuels that are currently uneconomical to process and transport.
Modular Manufacturing for Bioprocessing
At the meeting, CEO Rudi Roeslein and his team described modularization, unitization, prefabrication, and other related concepts and what they’ve come to mean at the company. They also gave an overview of some the company’s modularization projects. The meeting included discussions of the future challenges of modular manufacturing and a tour of Roeslein’s plant, led by John Demoulin, director of sales and marketing.
The vist came on the heels of the “Energy Manufacturing Workshop 2015” workshop held by BEI in Denver in May 2015. This national event brought together representatives from research, industry, and government to explore the topic. For more information about modular manufacturing, including a report from the workshop, see Modular Manufacturing for Bioprocessing for more information.
The BEI team included director Robert C. Brown, deputy directors Jill Euken and Ryan Smith, and scientists Lysle Whitmer and Andrew Friend. Also attending was BEI associate and associate professor of mechanical engineering Mark Wright. Participants from other organizations included Igor Slowing, Ames Laboratory; Charles Freeman, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; and Dane Boysen, Gas Technology Institute.
Researchers from Iowa State University and the Bioeconomy Institute have been awarded nearly $2 million to study production of biochar for use as a soil amendment that stores carbon underground instead of allowing carbon dioxide to re-enter the atmosphere as plants decompose. The award is from the Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP) based at Stanford University.
Iowa State and BEI researchers are studying how carbon-rich biochar can be used as a soil amendment to remove atmospheric
The project will investigate the pyrolysis-bioenergy-biochar pathway to carbon-negative energy. Heating plant material slowly without oxygen – a process called pyrolysis – produces the biochar, a carbon-rich material, and bio-oil, which can be processed into fuels and chemicals. The Iowa State investigators are David Laird, a professor of agronomy; Bruce Babcock, the Cargill Chair of Energy Economics; Robert Brown, BEI director and Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering; Dermot Hayes, a professor of economics; Fernando Miguez, assistant professor of agronomy; Sotirios Archontoulis, assistant professor of agronomy. Also on the team is David Zilberman, professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley..
Groundwork for the project was laid by Iowa State’s Initiative for a Carbon Negative Economy, which was supported by the College of Engineering’s Dean’s Research Initiatives. Learn more about the ICNE and the GCEP project in the article, Advancing to a carbon negative economy, on the College of Engineering Website.
The biochar project is among six recent GCEP grants. GCEP is an industry partnership that supports innovative research on energy technologies to address the challenge of global climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The project includes five corporate sponsors: ExxonMobil, GE, Schlumberger, DuPont, and Bank of America.
Exhibits, posters, activities, and more. Stay tuned for more details!
Iowa State University’s Bioeconomy Institute (BEI) opens opportunities in Iowa’s burgeoning bioeconomy, where our society looks to agriculture for sustainable sources of fuel, energy, chemicals, and materials.
More about BEI
CenUSA Bioenergy is an ambitious Iowa State University-based, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) sponsored, research project investigating the creation of a Midwestern sustainable biofuels and bioproducts system. Its display will also feature the C6 BioFarm game suite designed for middle school classrooms in STEM and agriculture based subjects.
More about CenUSA Bioenergy | More about C6 BioFarm
Iowa NSF EPSCoR is a $20+ million, five-year National Science Foundation program to build Iowa’s research capacity in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
More about Iowa NSF EPSCoR
Biorenewable Resources and Technology Graduate Program
Iowa State’s Biorenewable Resources and Technology (BRT) graduate program offers students from a variety of science and engineering backgrounds advanced study in the use of plant- and crop-based resources for the production of biobased products, including fuels, chemicals, materials, and energy.
More about the BRT program
STRIPS stands for Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips. The STRIPS project is composed of a team of scientists, educators, farmers, and extension specialists working on the prairie strips farmland conservation practice. STRIPS research shows that farmers and landowners who convert 10% of a crop-field to diverse, native perennials can reduce the amount of soil leaving fields by 90% and the amount of nitrogen leaving their fields through surface runoff by up to 85%.
More about the STRIPS program
Area crop scouts, farmers, and conservationists are invited to participate in a field day on August 24, 215 in Pella, IA. The field day is being hosted by Two Rivers COOP and will feature row crop variety updates and perennial grass plots. The bioenergy grass plots have been established near Vermeer Headquarters in Pella on the east side of the Vermeer Manufacturing. The program begins at 9:00am at the Winfield Answer Plot east of Pella on Adams/250th St., near Hwy 163 exit 44. For more details, contact Dale Miller, Marion County Extension Director, 641-842-2014, email@example.com.