Thermochemical Research Program

The Bioeconomy Institute’s Thermochemical Research Program seeks to promote, develop, and demonstrate thermochemical technologies (using heat, pressure, and catalysts) for the production of fuels, chemicals, and power from biomass and fossil fuels. The effort includes development and commercialization of autothermal pyrolysis. This program, formerly known as the Center for Sustainable Environmental Technologies, is a core research program at BEI.

Signature Programs

BEI develops new or expanded areas of interdisciplinary research relevant to challenges in the emerging bioeconomy, including:

Hybrid Processing Program

Modular Manufacturing for Bioprocessing

Computational Thermochemical Conversion Program

Algae Research Program

[LOGO]Rapid InstituteRAPID Institute

Iowa State University and the Bioeconomy Institute bring expertise in biorenewable technologies and pilot plant operations to the RAPID (Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment) Institute. This advanced manufacturing institute focuses on improving productivity and efficiency of chemical manufacturing through process intensification and modular manufacturing.

[LOGO]ICNEVision for a Carbon Negative Economy

Advanced biofuels can dramatically reduce carbon dioxide emissions compared to petroleum-based fuels. Iowa State University and BEI are exploring the possibility of actually producing energy that has net-negative carbon emissions by sequestering into soils some of the carbon captured by plants and trees.

Center for Biorenewable Chemicals

[LOGO]Center for Biorenewable ChemicalsThe Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC) is developing the tools, components and materials needed to transform carbohydrate feedstocks into bio-based chemicals. Core know-how and technologies include bioengineering of fatty acid and polyketide biochemistry in microorganisms, as well as an innovative and complimentary portfolio of developments in chemical catalysis. By combining biocatalysis and chemical catalysis CBiRC creates new know-how and powerful systems that have the potential to nurture a sustainable bio-based chemical industry.

[LOGO\CenUSA BioenergyCenUSA Bioenergy

An ambitious Iowa State University-based, USDA sponsored, research project investigating the creation of a Midwestern sustainable biofuels system for producing fuels from feedstocks derived from potentially high biomass producing herbaceous perennials using the pyrolytic conversion process.



The Iowa NSF EPSCoR project ran from 2011 – 2017 and was a joint effort by Iowa’s Regent universities: the University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa, and Iowa State University. The goal of the five-year, $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation was to build Iowa’s research capacity in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The Iowa Power Fund, a state program supporting energy innovation and independence, granted the project $2 million. Iowa NSF EPSCoR was a state-wide effort.

Bioeconomy Institute trading card