Lecture | Green Savings: How Policies and Markets Drive Energy Efficiency

Marilyn Ann Brown
Professor, School of Public Policy and Brook Byers Chaired Professor of Sustainable Systems
Georgia Institute of Technol

April 16th, 2015, 11:00 a.m – 12:00 p.m.
Cardinal Room, Memorial Union
Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011

Energy and the environment are two of the most critical topics of the 21st century. Dr. Marilyn Brown of the Georgia Institute of Technology will introduce you to fresh perspectives on energy production, new technology, policymaking, user behavior, and how these features all play critical roles in determining the best plan of action to overcome the global energy crisis.

Brown will discuss her new book, “Green Savings – How Policies and Markets Drive Energy Efficiency,” which asserts that reducing energy consumption should be a frontline strategy to address global climate change, threats to energy security, and the challenge of grid reliability. Brown, along with co-author Yu Wang of Iowa State University, support two bold arguments: that policies motivating greater investment in high energy efficiency should be a priority, and that energy efficiency can help the nation in times of crisis.

Presented by the Iowa Energy Center

Reception | Biorenewables Art Competition, Apr. 22, 2015

[POSTER]Biorenewables Art Reception 2015Biorenewables Research Laboratory Lobby

Earth Day 2015
Apr. 22, 2015 (Wednesday)
4:00 – 5:30 p.m. (program at 4:15)

Light refreshments served
Free and open to the public

Join us for the opening and announcement of the winners of our 2015 Biorenewable Art Competition, the sixth annual year for this event. All accepted entries, about 20 this year, will be on display.

Art students from Iowa State’s College of Design create works that reflect the mission of the Bioeconomy Institute. We award cash prizes to the top entries, and all of the accepted pieces are exhibited for about a year in our lobby.

Also during this event, fall 2014 Leading The Bioeconomy Fellowship Recipients and spring 2015 BRT Research Seminar students will present research posters in Sukup Atrium.

Download PDF of Biorenewables Art Poster

Finding BRL

Seminar | The Challenge of Creating a Low-Carbon Economy in the Age of Natural Gas

[PHOTO]Dr. Roger AinesDr. Roger Aines
Fuel Cycle Innovations Program Leader
E Programs, Global Security
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Feb. 19, 2015, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Alliant Energy-Lee Liu Auditorium, Howe Hall

12:00 – 12:30 p.m, Lunch, Howe Hall ground-floor atrium
You must be preregistered to attend lunch

The US has entered an age of hydrocarbon abundance with oil production at 1970 levels and natural gas use expanding rapidly, replacing coal in power production. While this is providing an enormous economic stimulus to the US, it presents a challenge to in terms of motivating the adoption of technology that is more carbon-neutral than gas. Impacts are currently seen across the board in carbon capture and storage, and will be seen in renewable energy as well. In this talk, Aines will discuss the current US progress in carbon capture and storage (CCS), focusing on the Department of Energy programs in this area. Aines will incorporate the impacts of gas production, and his projections of the future of gas in this country and overseas, into a discussion of the most likely targets for developing new low-carbon technologies in this country. Finally, Aines will discuss the potential for truly zero- or negative-carbon technology, which will be needed in the 2030 to 2050 time frame given our current global carbon emission trends.

Roger Aines leads the development of carbon management technologies at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, working since 1984 in US national laboratory system. Aines’ work has spanned nuclear waste disposal, environmental remediation, applying stochastic methods to inversion and data fusion, managing carbon emissions and sequestration monitoring and verification methods. Aines takes an integrated view of the energy, climate, and environmental aspects of carbon-based fuel production and use. His current focus is on efficient ways to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and safer methods for producing environmentally clean fuel. He holds 13 patents and has authored more than 100 publications. Aines holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from Carleton College, and Doctor of Philosophy in geochemistry from the California Institute of Technology. Aines can be contacted at (925) 423-7184 or aines1@llnl.gov.

Download a PDF flyer for the seminar.

Seminar | Cool Planet Energy Systems: Path to Commercialization

[PHOTO]Dr. Daren DaugaardDr. Daren Daugaard, Ph.D., PE
Director of Research & Development
Cool Planet Energy Systems

Jan. 22, 2015, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
1306 Elings Hall
Lunch provided
RSVP to Jan Meyer by noon, Jan. 20:
jemeyer@iastate.edu; 515-294-3759

The innovative start-up technology company, Cool Planet Energy Systems (CPES), develops renewable products to address three of the world’s largest markets: energy, food, and water. CPES has engineered a thermochemical conversion process that transforms lignocellulosic feedstock to liquid hydrocarbon fuels and biocarbon products. After successfully demonstrating their calable process on a pilot scale, development has shifted to commercial design and construction. This seminar will discuss the conversion process, the end products, and some of the challenges of developing commercial scale facilities. Progressing a pioneering technology from the ground stage to near commercial status at a start-up company is a rewarding and educational experience.

Daren Daugaard was born and raised in South Dakota on a family farm which involved significant biomass production. He graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University (ISU) in 1995 and was employed in the power distribution industry. In 1999, Dr. Daugaard began his research in biomass fast pyrolysis at ISU under the guidance of Dr. Robert C. Brown. Dr. Daugaard attained his PhD in ME in 2003 and continued his research efforts in pyrolysis with the University of Texas at San Antonio as an associate professor. From 2007 to 2011, Dr. Daugaard served as a research engineer at ConocoPhillips Company responsible for developing a biomass pyrolysis program as part of the company’s renewable fuels portfolio. Starting in 2011, Dr. Daugaard transitioned from investigative research in the oil industry to active research and development at Cool Planet Energy Systems.


Seminar | Lignin valorization via depolymerization, biological funneling, and chemical catalysis

[PHOTO]Gregg T. BeckhamDr. Gregg T. Beckham
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Dec. 16, 2014, 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
1306 Elings Hall, Iowa State University
Lunch provided
RSVP to Jan Meyer by Dec. 11: jemeyer@iastate.edu; 515-294-3759

The economic viability of biomass conversion to transportation fuels and renewable chemicals hinges on the ability to efficiently break down plant cell walls to their constituent monomers and then upgrade the resulting monomers to value-added molecules. This talk will focus on lignin, which a heterogeneous aromatic polymer found in terrestrial plant cell walls for pathogen defense, structure, and water transport. Lignin is typically not converted to value-added molecules in biorefineries, but is rather slated for heat and power. Indeed, the adage in the biofuels industry is that one “can make anything from lignin except money”. The primary reasons for this technical barrier stem from (1) the need to effectively breakdown the recalcitrant lignin polymer into low molecular-weight aromatic molecules and (2) the ability to deal with the resulting heterogeneity of the depolymerized stream. Recent efforts in lignin depolymerization in the context of the lignocellulosic biorefinery and a recently proposed biological funneling and chemical catalysis approach that enables the ability to overcome these intrinsic problems with lignin will be reviewed. Taken together, this work may eventually offer a viable approach for cost effective upgrading of lignin to fuels and chemicals.

Gregg T. Beckham received his PhD and MSCEP in Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007. He also received a BS in Chemical Engineering from Oklahoma State University 2002. He worked as a Senior Lecturer and Station Director for the David H. Koch School of Chemical Engineering Practice at MIT in 2004-2005 and again in 2007. In 2008, he began doing research in the National Bioenergy Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He currently works with an interdisciplinary research team of biologists, chemists, and engineers on multiple aspects of biochemical and thermochemical conversion of biomass to fuels, chemicals, and materials including cellulase enzyme improvements, biomass pretreatment, sugar conversion to fuels and chemicals, and lignin valorization.


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