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.
BEI develops new or expanded areas of interdisciplinary research relevant to challenges in the emerging bioeconomy, including:
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.
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.
An ambitious Iowa State University-based, USDA sponsored, research project investigated 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.