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Winter 2021 Newsletter

Happy Holidays from the BioCentury Research Farm!

Wishing you a Happy Holidays from all of us at BCRF!

As we wind down toward the end of 2021, we looked back at the last year of research activity and tours that have come through our doors. We've put together some highlights to share with you.

 Tours/Events resume post-COVID at the BCRF

As COVID restrictions lifted earlier in the year, BCRF was back to hosting a number of in-person events and tours. Some of our biggest turnouts were:

  • Innovation in Water Quality/WHO Big Show Event
  • Science and Sustainability
  • I-Lead (Iowa Corn) Class Tour
  • Iowa Highway Research Board (IHRB) Bio-asphalt Plant Tour
  • Renewable Energy Group (REG) Ribbon cutting

Top research activities during 2021

It was a busy year at BCRF, with our research groups continuing existing projects as well as pursuing several new ones. In alphabetical order, here are some highlights from the many research activities at the facility in 2021:

  • Ag equipment development and testing – Dr. Matt Darr
    • The Digital Ag group continued tech development of various ag equipment for industry partners in multiple different areas.
  • Agronomy sampling support (Agronomy)
    • 6000+ samples were milled at BCRF this year to support agronomy field testing.
  • Bio-asphalt products from soybean feedstocks – Dr. Eric Cochran and Dr. Chris Williams
    • More demo testing was conducted on the BCRF parking lot with a bio-based asphalt sealant.
  • Biochar production – Bioeconomy Institute/Dr. Robert Brown and Frontline Bioenergy
    • Projects between multiple different research groups were completed at BCRF and continue into the new year.
  • Biofuel production utilizing thermochemical processes – Bioeconomy Institute/Dr. Robert Brown and Renewable Energy Group (REG)
    • REG unveiled and began research with their new hydrotreater pilot plant at BCRF.
  • DDG/DDGS production – Center for Crops Utilization Research and Dr. Zhiyou Wen
    • CCUR and Dr. Wen worked with private industry to produce the next generation of high quality DDG and DDGS for livestock feed.
  • Fermentation – Center for Crops Utilization Research and Dr. Zhiyou Wen
    • CCUR and Dr. Wen worked with multiple industry partners to produce a variety of fermentation products.
  • Repurposed plastics to packaging materials – Dr. Keith Vorst
    • Dr. Vorst established a lab space at BCRF late this year and continues to expand the group's capabilities for creating and developing products from recycled materials.
  • Water quality improvement using algae – Gross-Wen Technologies
    • Gross-Wen Technologies started the initial stages of developing bench scale and pilot scale experiments for grant-supported projects in water quality.

For more information on these activities or to join the group of researchers at BCRF, contact Assistant Director Andy Suby at or (515) 296-6039.