Seminar | Overcoming Technical and Non-Technical Barriers On the Road to Commercialization

 Jim Spaeth
Bioenergy Demonstration & Market Transformation Program Manager
U.S. Department of Energy

Oct. 30, 2014, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
2271 Howe Hall, Room 0020
Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011

View recorded version of this presentation

One of the Energy Department’s key objectives in bioenergy is to foster development of a robust, commercially-competitive biorefinery industry and help reduce the risk associated with designing, constructing and operating first-of-a-kind biorefinery demonstrations. This assistance is critical to enable private sector confidence to invest in facility construction and replication at the commercial scale.

This presentation will give key lessons and best practices the Department has learned over the last decade. The discussion will also cover how that information could be used to demonstrate successful risk reduction, and thereby contribute to successful commercialization of integrated biorefineries.

Presented by the Iowa Energy Center.

Renewable Energy Symposium | Meeting the Renewable Energy Challenge

The University of Iowa Public Policy Center will be presenting a two-day symposium titled “Meeting the Renewable Energy Challenge,” Oct, 16-17, 2014, taking place primarily in the Iowa Memorial Union Main Lounge. Events include a renewable energy debate between Marc Jacobson, civil and environmental engineering professor at Stanford University, and Robert Bryce, senior fellow with the Center for Energy Policy and the Environment at the Manhattan Institute; a screening of the documentary, Dirty Business; and tours of the Iowa NSF EPSCoR Imagine Energy Traveler.

There will also be a student expo, where student organizations from various universities will have the opportunity to showcase their renewable energy- or sustainability-related events and material. During the student-oriented day, individuals will have the chance to network with local businesses in the realm of alternative energy and environmental policy.

If you are a student who would like to present a poster highlighting your research in the area of renewable energy or sustainability, please sign up here.

For more information contact Peter Damiano or Leslie Gannon (

Webinar | Biochar Discussed by Iowa State Students

A Web seminar, “BioChar and Beyond,” will be presented in October by Matt Kieffer, Bernardo del Campo, and Juan Proano Aviles, all graduate students in mechanical engineering at Iowa State University.  Their studies focus on bioenergy. The trio has also started a biorenewable company, ARTI, which can be found online at

The students will discuss biochar, which is created during the conversion of biomass into fuels and chemicals, from production to end product and its uses and applications worldwide. The seminar will be held Friday, Oct. 31, 2014, 10:00 a.m. CDT. It’s aimed at anyone interested in bioenergy and renewable energy, including extension educators, professors, state agencies, federal personnel, teachers, college students, and bioenergy industry personnel.

The event is part of the The Bioenergy Friday Web Seminar series, sponsored by the University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension and farm energy community of practice.

Update Nov. 3, 2014

A recording of this Web seminar can be viewed on YouTube at:


Webinar | BEI’s Brown to Talk Pyrolysis

BEI director Robert C. Brown is speaking at a free Webinar on “Rapid Characterization of Polymers, Biomass and Feedstocks by Fast Pyrolysis and Catalytic Pyrolysis.”  His co-presenter is David A. Randle, technical director for Frontier Laboratories, Ltd. They will discuss how fast pyrolysis, hydropyrolysis and catalytic pyrolysis are used to convert biomass to biofuels or other value-added chemicals.
[GRAPHIC]Pyrolysis Webinar Topics

Photo by Scott Hein.

The Webinar is being held June 25, 2014, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EDT by AIChE, the world’s leading organization for chemical engineering professionals. It’s sponsored by Frontier Laboratories. Attendance is free.

To attend the Webinar, or for more information, see the AIChE Website.

Reception | Biorenewables Art Competition, Earth Day 2014

[POSTER]Biorenewables Art Competition 2014Winners of the 2014 Biorenewables Art Competition will be announced at a reception on Earth Day 2014 in the Biorenewables Research Laboratory (BRL) on the Iowa State University campus. The competition, now in its fifth year, is held for students in Iowa State’s College of Design.

The entries reflect the Bioeconomy Institute’s mission, which is economic, environmental and social sustainability to advance development of biorenewable resources for the production of materials, fuels, energy, and chemicals. The Bioeconomy Institute (BEI) is located in the Biorenewables Research Laboratory.

The jurors for the 2014 competition are Chris Vance, Sara Merritt, and Laura Jarboe. Vance is an independent artist from Des Moines and visual studies graduate from Iowa State. He was a juror for the 2013 competition. Merritt is a educational specialist at Iowa State University’s Reiman Gardens and is vice president of the Ames Community Arts Council. She has an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Jarboe is the Karen and Denny Vaughn Assistant Professor in chemical and biological engineering at Iowa State.

The “Best in Show” art will become a permanent part of the BRL. All entries will be displayed in the BRL lobby or administrative suite for about one year. The winning artist, along with the artists for the first, second, and third-place works, receive cash prizes.

BEI will also be honoring its spring 2014 “Leading the Bioeconomy” Fellows and their sponsors at the reception. The Fellows are Toni Pfennig, Qing He, and Lei Fang. See BEI’s BRT Program Announces Spring 2014 Graduate Fellows for more information.

The reception is being held from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., Apr. 22, 2104, in the BRL lobby. A brief program and award presentation will begin around 3:30 p.m.

Bioeconomy Institute trading card