Webinar/Meeting: Maximizing Bioenergy Resources in the Midwest

MGA Announces America’s Smartland Series on Maximizing Bioenergy Resources in the Midwest

The Midwestern Governors Association (MGA) will host an America’s Smartland Series focusing on maximizing bioenergy resources in the Midwest. This intensive discussion will bring together governors’ offices and state agency staff, as well as academia, NGOs, and industry leaders from across the region for a series of webinars, culminating in an in-person meeting.

A variety of biomass to energy opportunities exist throughout the Midwest, with feedstocks ranging from energy crops to food waste to manure. Many of these biomass resources are currently not fully developed or utilized and state-led programming or incentives can help grow the industry. Biomass can be converted to electricity and/or heat, used as a source of renewable natural gas, or provide a variety of vehicle fuels. A strong bioenergy market could result in local economic development as well as provide a range of potential environmental benefits.

The MGA Smartland Series will discuss strategies related to:

  • securing a sustainable biomass supply,
  • improving the efficiency of biomass processing and conversion,
  • expanding the bioenergy market, and
  • creating inclusive biomass business models capturing the ag/energy/water nexus.

We invite you register for the meetings listed below. Please note that advanced registration is required for each.

You can also visit www.midwesterngovernors.org/biomass.htm for more information about this effort.

Webinar/Meeting Dates

September 14, 2017
Biomass Webinar #3

October 11-12, 2017
In-person Meeting
The meeting, in Coralville, Iowa, will be a combination of selected high-level speakers and attendee discussion to synthesize lessons learned. We are tentatively planning two biomass related tours.

Draft agenda (PDF)


Are you or your organization interested in sponsoring this effort and meeting? The generous support of our sponsors allow us to not only hold this webinar series and meeting.

For more information on sponsoring, please contact Jeff Ewart with the MGA at 202-367-2372.

DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) Program Accepting Applications

[LOGO]U.S. DOE Office of ScienceThe goal of the Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program is to prepare graduate students for science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) careers critically important to the DOE Office of Science mission, by providing graduate thesis research opportunities at DOE laboratories. The SCGSR program provides supplemental awards to outstanding U.S. graduate students to pursue part of their graduate thesis research at a DOE laboratory/facility in areas that address scientific challenges central to the Office of Science mission. The research opportunity is expected to advance the graduate students’ overall doctoral thesis while providing access to the expertise, resources, and capabilities available at the DOE laboratories/facilities.

The SCGSR program is sponsored and managed by the DOE Office of Science’s Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS), in collaboration with the 6 Office of Science research programs and the DOE national laboratories/facilities. Online application and awards administration support is provided by Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education (ORISE) under Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU).

The SCGSR program provides supplemental funds for graduate awardees to conduct part of their thesis research at a host DOE laboratory/facility in collaboration with a DOE laboratory scientist within a defined award period. Collaborating DOE Laboratory Scientists may be from any of the participating DOE national laboratories/facilities. The award period for the proposed research project at DOE laboratories/facilities may range from 3 to 12 consecutive months.

The Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program is now accepting applications. Applications are due November 16, 2017 at 5:00PM Eastern Time. For more information, visit the DOE Website.

Iowa State Researchers Join New Carbon Economy Consortium

Researchers from Iowa State University are part of a “New Carbon Economy” consortium launched by the Center for Carbon Removal in partnership with several research institutions. The initiative has the goal of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and converting it into valuable products and services.

Noah Deich, executive director of the Center for Carbon Removal, said the effort is urgently needed to “develop new businesses and reinvent the industries that powered the last industrial revolution – like manufacturing, mining, agriculture and forestry – to create a strong, healthy and resilient economy and environment for communities around the globe.”

Iowa State researchers participating in the consortium include Robert Brown, director of the Bioeconomy Institute and Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering; David Laird, professor of agronomy; and Dermot Hayes, the Pioneer Chair in Agribusiness and Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Life Sciences.

[LOGO]ICNE“Iowa State University began exploring carbon removal technologies six years ago as part of a College of Engineering-sponsored Initiative for Carbon Negative Energy,” explained Brown. “This initiative focused on drawing down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through the natural process of photosynthesis, with part of the resulting plant biomass being converted to biochar as a long-term carbon sequestration agent.  Our inclusion as a founding organization of this consortium is a direct result of ISU’s early investment in an emerging research area long before it received much attention in the scientific community.”

Arizona State University and Purdue University are also part of the effort. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory participated in the launch event and has extensive expertise in alternative energy and new fuel sources.

The idea for the consortium came from a recent chance meeting between Arizona State President Michael Crow and Deich where they discussed rethinking the climate challenge in terms of economic opportunities.

At the launch event, assembled partners agreed to produce a roadmap that will outline the specific steps for translating relevant research into business and policy actions. The roadmap will consider design principles for engaging multiple parts of the economy in capturing and concentrating atmospheric carbon dioxide, ranging from biological approaches such as ISU’s biochar production and sequestration to engineered systems such as direct air capture of carbon dioxide.

For More Information

New Carbon Economy Effort Launched at Arizona State University

Team launches initiative to develop viable market for waste carbon dioxide

Biofuels Digest | Rapid Advancement: The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to the Nation’s 10th Manufacturing USA Institute – RAPID

Biofuels Digest has published a slideset overview of the new RAPID Institute from Mark Wright, a BEI affiliate and an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Iowa State University. The Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment (RAPID) Institute is being led by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in New York City will lead the effort. The effort was developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River National Laboratory in South Carolina and the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Iowa State researchers are managing the project’s biorefinery efforts.

View the slides on the Biofuels Digest site

NSF Funding Opportunities 2017

NSF, PD 17-7644 (Energy for Sustainability)

Full proposal window: October 1, 2017 – October 20, 2017

The goal of the Energy for Sustainability program is to support fundamental engineering research that will enable innovative processes for the sustainable production of electricity and fuels, and for energy storage. Processes for sustainable energy production must be environmentally benign, reduce greenhouse gas production, and utilize renewable resources.

NSF, PD 17-1407 (Combustion and Fire Systems)

Full proposal window: October 1, 2017 – October 20, 2017

The goal of the Combustion and Fire Systems program is to generate cleaner global and local governments, enhance public safety, improve energy and homeland security, and enable more efficient energy conversion and manufacturing.

Current topics of interest include:

  • Basic Combustion Science
  • Combustion Science Related to Clean Energy

Proposals related to the combustion of biomass, gasification, or the production of synthesis gas (syngas) should be directed to this program.

NSF, PD 17-7643 (Environmental Sustainability)

Full proposal window: October 1, 2017 – October 20, 2017

The goal of the Environmental Sustainability program is to promote sustainable engineered systems that support human well-being and that are also compatible with sustaining natural (environmental) systems.

NSF, PD 17-1403 (Process Systems, Reaction Engineering and Molecular Thermodynamics)

Full proposal window: October 1, 2017 – October 20, 2017

The Process Systems, Reaction Engineering and Molecular Thermodynamics program is part of the Chemical Process Systems cluster, which includes also 1) Catalysis; 2) Process Separations; and 3) Energy for Sustainability. The goal of the Process Systems, Reaction Engineering and Molecular Thermodynamics program is to advance fundamental engineering research on the rates and mechanisms of chemical reactions, systems engineering and molecular thermodynamics as they relate to the design and optimization of chemical reactors and the production of specialized materials that have important impacts on society.

Proposals that focus on thermal catalytic or thermal noncatalytic biomass conversion and advanced biofuels from lignocellulosic biomass should be directed to this program.

NSF, PD 17-1401 (Catalysis)

Full proposal window: October 1, 2017 – October 20, 2017

The goal of the Catalysis program is to advance research in catalytic engineering science and promote fundamental understanding and the development of catalytic materials and reactions that are of benefit to society. Research in this program should focus on new basic understanding of catalytic materials and reactions, utilizing synthetic, theoretical, and experimental approaches. Target applications include fuels, specialty and bulk chemicals, environmental catalysis, biomass conversion to fuels and chemicals, conversion of greenhouse gases, and generation of solar hydrogen, as well as efficient routes to energy utilization.

NSF, PD 17-1417 (Process Separations)

Full proposal window: October 1, 2017 – October 20, 2017

The Process Separations progam supports research focused on novel methods and materials for separation processes, such as those central to the chemical, biochemical, bioprocessing, materials, energy, and pharmaceutical industries.

Research topics of particular interest include fundamental molecular-level work on:

  • Design of scalable mass separating agents and/or a mechanistic understanding of the interfacial thermodynamics and transport phenomena that relate to purification of gases, chemicals, or water
  • Design or improvement of mass separation agents or processes that are based upon, and advance, transport principles
  • Downstream purification of biologically derived chemicals for increased throughput
  • Field (flow, magnetic, electrical) induced separations and other innovative approaches that address a significant reduction in energy and/or materials requirements in the process industries

NSF, PD 17-1406 (Thermal Transport Processes)

Full proposal window: October 1, 2017 – October 20, 2017

The Thermal Transport Processes progam supports engineering research projects that lay the foundation for new discoveries in thermal transport phenomena. These projects should either develop new fundamental knowledge or combine existing knowledge in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat and mass transfer to probe new areas of innovation.

Some specific areas of interest include:

  • Convection/Diffusion/Radiation
  • Thermodynamics
  • Bio- Heat and Mass Transport
  • Nano-, Micro- and Meso-thermics

For More Information

Please contact BEI’s Kristin Doerder, kjandrsn@iastate.edu, if you are interested in an opportunity listed above.

Bioeconomy Institute trading card