Brown Moves Up Bioeconomy 100 Listing

[PHOTO]Robert C. BrownRobert C. Brown, director of the Bioeconomy Institute at Iowa State University, moved up to number 57 on the  “Top 100 People in the Advanced Bioeconomy 2016,” nominated and voted by the readers of the Biofuels Digest and the publication’s editorial board. Brown was number 70 in the 2015 version of the poll. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack heads the list again this year.

See the article “The Top 100 People in the Advanced Bioeconomy 2016” at the Biofuels Digest’s Website.

Brown Appointed to Iowa Energy Plan Working Group

[PHOTO]Robert C. BrownBEI director Robert C. Brown has been appointed to the “Iowa’s Energy Resources” working group for the Iowa Energy Plan.  The plan aims to set state priorities and provide strategic guidance for decision-making while working to encourage energy, economic, and environmental benefits. It’s a joint initiative between the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Dept. of Transportation.

The plan will include an assessment of current and future energy supply and demand, examine existing energy policies and programs, and identify emerging energy challenges and opportunities.The plan has a tentative delivery date of November 2016.

Brown is one of 48 people selected for the working groups, and the only representative from a four-year university or college. The other groups will examine economic development and energy careers, transportation and infrastructure, and energy efficiency and conservation.

For more information, visit the Iowa Energy Plan Website.

Report Finds Iowa Well Positioned for Biorenewable Chemicals

[COVER IMAGE]Biobased Chemicals: The Iowa OpportunityA new white paper has found that Iowa is better positioned than many domestic competitors to capitalize on the next frontier of bioprocessing in the United States. The report, titled “Biobased Chemicals: The Iowa Opportunity,” was released by Iowa’s Cultivation Corridor and the Iowa Biotechnology Association.

The authors are Jill Euken, BEI deputy director; Dermot Hayes, a professor of economics at Iowa State University; and Brent Shanks, director of the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC) and a Distinguished Professor of chemical and biological engineering.

The report details how statewide economic development incentives can address the unique needs of the budding industry and allow Iowa to emerge as a leader in biorenewable chemical investment and job creation in coming years. The findings of the report were released at a news conference at the Iowa State Capitol on Jan. 14, 2016. Among it’s findings:

  • First generation biofuels have been important economic drivers for the state of Iowa. Ethanol production alone in Iowa accounts for $2.23 billion per year in state GDP and supports more than 8,693 jobs.
  • At least five potential bio-based chemical production projects were identified through an industry interview process as part of the report. Representatives of each project indicated a biorenewable chemical production tax credit would be fundamental to the ultimate location decision in or outside Iowa.
  • The U.S. market for chemicals is more than $250 billion per year.
  • More than 50,000 jobs in bio-based chemicals and materials are projected to be created in the United States by 2020.
  • Using income tax data, the payback period on the $61.7 million the state invested in the ethanol industry was just two years.

To view the full report and the executive summary, visit

Brown Named Panelist for “One Nation” Energy Forum

[PHOTO]Robert C. BrownBEI Director Robert C. Brown will be a panelist on a forum that aims to answer the question: What’s the next-next thing in energy that will power our homes, businesses and cars 10 or 20 years from now? The event is the kickoff to the USA TODAY Network’s “One Nation” series, which includes a total of 10 events in different cities on key topics shaping next year’s presidential election.

Edit, Jan. 15, 2016: A video of the forum can be viewed on the Des Moines Register site.

This forum is being organized by The Des Moines Register. Organizers say that the future of energy in the United States a pivotal issue in the 2016 presidential race and one of particular importance to Iowans.

The stated goal of “One Nation” is to bring together the greatest minds, musicians, celebrities and voters, showcasing a no-holds-barred, 360-degree perspective of key issues ranging from immigration to innovation. The event also will feature live music, demonstrations, and food and drink.

The forum will take place on Jan. 14, 2016, 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., at Wooly’s Des Moines in East Village. For more information, see the article in The Des Moines Register

BEI Student Continues Poster Excellence at Thermochemical Conference

Joseph Polin, an Iowa State University Ph.D. student working in the Bioeconomy Institute, won second place in the Student Poster Challenge at the tcbiomass2015 conference held recently in Chicago. It marks the third time in a row that an Iowa State student has placed in this prestigious competition.

[PHOTO]Joseph Polin

Polin’s poster, “Investigation of autothermal operation of a fluidized bed pyrolyzer,” was selected from some 38 entrants. Polin also received a cash award of $500. You can view a PDF of Polin’s poster as well as a list and PDFs of all BEI posters.

Joseph Polin, a Ph.D. student at Iowa State University and BEI, won second place in the Student Poster Challenge at the recent tcbiomass2015 conference.

Polin is majoring in mechanical engineering and co-majoring in Biorenewable Resources and Technology (BRT). His major professor is Robert C. Brown, BEI director and Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering. Polin is studying autothermal pyrolysis in pilot-scale reactor systems. In contrast to traditional pyrolysis, the autothermal method uses some oxygen, with the goal of overcoming heat transfer limitations and increasing yields of pyrolytic sugar and phenolic oil. Polin hopes to graduate in December 2017.

Highlighting BEI’s Thermochemical Conversion Research

The tcbiomass conference focused on thermochemical conversion science to turn biomass into fuels and chemicals. It was a busy conference for BEI. The host of the conference, the Gas Technology Institute (GTI), presented BEI’s Brown with the 2015 Don Klass Award for Excellence in Thermochemical Conversion Science. The program featured four Iowa State researchers as speakers and over 20 as poster presenters. In all, over 35 Iowa State people attended the conference.

The BEI 2015 Virtual Tour video made its premiere at the event. The institute also had an exhibit to showcase its thermochemical research capabilities.


Bioeconomy Institute trading card