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Robert C Brown

Robert C Brown

  • Co-Director
Co-Director, Bioeconomy Institute
Iowa State University

Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering
Iowa State University

Gary and Donna Hoover Chair in Mechanical Engineering
Iowa State University

Contact Info

1140E Biorenew Lab
617 Bissell Rd.
Social Media and Websites


  • B.S., Physics, University of Missouri, 1976
  • B.A., Mathematics, University of Missouri, 1976
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Michigan State University, 1977
  • Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Michigan State University, 1980

More Information


Fast Pyrolysis of Biomass: Advances in Science and Technology

Book coverEditors: Robert C Brown, Kaige Wang
Fast pyrolysis and related catalytic pyrolysis are of increasing interest as pathways to advanced biofuels that closely mimic traditional petroleum products. Research has moved from empirical investigations to more fundamental studies of pyrolysis mechanisms. Theories on the chemical and physical pathways from plant polymers to pyrolysis products have proliferated as a result. This book brings together the latest developments in pyrolysis science and technology. It examines, reviews and challenges the unresolved and sometimes controversial questions about pyrolysis, helping advance the understanding of this important technology and stimulating discussion on the various competing theories of thermal deconstruction of plant polymers. See at the Royal Society of Chemistry

Why are We Producing Biofuels?

Book cover

By Robert C. Brown, Tristan R. Brown
“Why Are We Producing Biofuels?” is written for those who are curious about efforts to introduce biofuels into our energy supply but are not satisfied with the publicly accessible information on the subject. Written by experts in the field, this book provides educators, policy makers, business leaders, and the general public with an insider’s understanding of the current research in the field as well as an appreciation of the debates surrounding biofuels. See at

Thermochemical Processing of Biomass: Conversion into Fuels, Chemicals and Power, 2nd Edition

Book cover

Robert C. Brown (Editor)
Thermochemical Processing of Biomass: Conversion into Fuels, Chemicals and Power, 2nd Edition is a comprehensive examination of the large number of possible pathways for converting biomass into fuels and power through thermochemical processes. Bringing together a widely scattered body of information into a single volume, this book provides complete coverage of the many ways that thermochemical processes are used to transform biomass into fuels, chemicals and power. Fully revised and updated, this new edition highlights the substantial progress and recent developments that have been made in this rapidly growing field since publication of the first edition and incorporates up-to-date information in each chapter.

Biorenewable Resources: Engineering New Products from Agriculture, Second Edition

Book cover

By Robert C. Brown, Tristan R. Brown
Biorenewable Resources: Engineering New Products from Agriculture, 2nd Edition will provide comprehensive coverage of engineering systems that convert agricultural crops and residues into bioenergy and biobased products. This edition is thoroughly updated and revised to better serve the needs of the professional and research fields working with biorenewable resource development and production. Biorenewable resources is a rapidly growing field that forms at the interface between agricultural and plant sciences and process engineering. Biorenewable Resources will be an indispensable reference for anyone working in the production of biomass or biorenewable resources.

Areas of Interest

  • Biorenewable resources
  • Thermochemical and biological conversion of biomass
  • Biopolymers and other value-added products from syngas fermentation
  • Hydrogen fuel from biomass gasification
  • Bio-oils from fast pyrolysis of biomass