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.


BEI Takes Busload to Showcase Thermochemical Research

[LOLGO]tcbiomass2015The Bioeconomy Institute is taking a bus with over 30 Iowa State University students, researchers, faculty, and staff to tcbiomass 2015, an international conference on thermochemical biomass conversion science being held this week in Chicago, IL. The program features four Iowa State researchers as speakers and over 20 as poster presenters. Iowa State is expected to have the largest presence of any university at tcbiomass2015, demonstrating its leadership in field.

The event is bringing together the world’s experts in biomass gasification, pretreatment, pyrolysis, and upgrading to explore progress in the bioeconomy. Some 22 countries are represented among attendees.

[PHOTO]Robert C. BrownThe host of the conference, the Gas Technology Institute (GTI), has announced that BEI Director Robert C. Brown will be presented with the 2015 Don Klass Award for Excellence in Thermochemical Conversion Science on Nov. 3 at the event. This award recognizes Dr. Brown as a leader whose career has shaped the agenda of thermochemical biomass conversion, made substantial technical contributions, and mentored many young scientists and engineers in the field.

The award is a tribute to the notable Dr. Donald L. Klass, who was president and one of the original founders of the Biomass Energy Research Association (BERA). For more about Brown’s award, read the article on at GTI’s Website.

Update: BEI/Iowa State student Joseph Polin wins second place in tcbiomass 2015 student poster competition.

Talking about Thermochemical Conversion

[PHOTO]Iowa State at tcbiomass2015The Iowa State speakers at the conference are Marjorie Rover, a thermochemical research scientist at BEI, Xianglan Bai, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, along with Rajeeva Thilakartne and Chloe Dedic, both graduate students in mechanical engineering.

A contingent of Iowa State University faculty, scientists, and students participated in tcbiomass 2015, highlighting the university’s research in the field of thermochemical conversion of biomass. 

Iowa State will also be represented by 22 poster presenters at the conference, covering pyrolysis, gasification, and upgrading/pretreatment of biomass. Presenters include BEI staff researchers Preston Gable, Patrick Johnston, Patrick Hall, Ashokkumar Sharma, and Shuai Zhou as well as Rover. Iowa State faculty presenting posters are Young-Jin Lee, chemistry, and Song-Charng Kong, mechanical engineering. See all of the BEI posters.

Also presenting are mechanical engineering graduate students Soroush Aramideh, Bernardo Del Campo, Martin Haverly, Wenqi li, Arian Jafari, Jake K. Lindstrom, Longwen Ou, Yaoyu Pan, Joseph Polin, Juan Proano Aviles, and Yuan Xue; chemical and biological engineering graduate students Sanaz Abdolmohammadi, and Arpa Ghosh; and economics graduate student Ryan Goodrich. Robert Brown was also on the advisory committee that selected presentations for the conference and will chair a session on pyrolysis.

[BANNER]Thermochemical ProcessingBEI is a sponsor and exhibitor at the conference as well. Its display will highlight BEI’s thermochemical research capabilities as well as its new thrust into modular manufacturing of thermochemical conversion systems. The new BEI Virtual Tour 2015 video, which provides an overview of many thermochemical research projects at BEI, will have its premiere showing at the conference.

The conference has posted a video of conference highlights. It can be viewed on the tcbiomass 2015 site.


The Bioeconomy Institute will be highlighting its leading thermochemical processing research at the international tcbiomass2015 conference this week.

BEI Hits the Road to Learn about Modular Manufacturing

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.

[PHOTO]BEI Roeslein tourJohn 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, scientists Lysle Whitmer and Andrew Friend, and director of  graduate education for the BRT program Jacqulyn Baughman. Also attending was BEI associate and assistant 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.

Bioeconomy Institute trading card