News

August 08, 2018

From Inc. — An article from Inc. highlights why Des Moines represents a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs. The resources and talent at Iowa State University, including the BioCentury Research Farm, are listed as reasons why companies are starting in Iowa. BCRF manager Andy Suby and BCRF industry incubator client Gross-Wen Technologies are featured in the article. 

June 08, 2018

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig speaking at the anniversary of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.Iowa leaders celebrate fifth anniversary of Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy at the BioCentury Research Farm, an ISU research team will use the pilot-scale pyrolysis reactor located at the BCRF to breakdown lignin that will be used to make the carbon fiber, and a former BCRF student employee accepted to CYstarters.

June 07, 2018

Biopolymer Processing FacilityFrom CEP Magazine — Researchers from Iowa State University are working with a number of other firms to explore the applications and uses of bioadvantaged polymers. The team at Iowa State is working with the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites, the Iowa Soybean Association, United Soybean Board, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and 10 other companies. Along with help from these others departments, the Biopolymer Processing Facility at the BioCentury Research Farm will allow the research teams to “manufacture material for demonstration projects nationwide.”

June 06, 2018

The results of more than 120 agricultural research trials conducted last year at Iowa State University’s Research and Demonstration Farms are available online and can be downloaded at no charge. 

April 21, 2018

A pilot-scale distillation was completed utilizing the BCRF's distillation column to obtain whole stillage.The BioCentury Research Farm carried out new fermentation and distillation projects in the Biochemical Processing Train, Gross-Wen Technologies has joined the BCRF's industry incubator program, and researchers are working on an assortment of projects at the BCRF.

April 19, 2018

A research project by a group of College of Engineering researchers aims to develop a bio-based carbon fiber that could be used in anything from cars to wind turbines.

March 13, 2018

 Joe Link)A Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research grant will fund a study including Iowa State University to examine possible impacts on pollinators from strips of prairie planted in crop fields. Lisa Schulte Moore, a professor in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, is leading the interdisciplinary team from Iowa State and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to investigate whether embedding strips of prairie in crop fields affects honeybee health, native pollinator abundance and diversity. Researchers will study bee and monarch butterfly populations.

March 12, 2018

Picture of Pyrolysis ResearchFrom Biofuels Digest — We have a breakthrough in pyrolysis to report today that could reduce the estimated cost of producing fuel from $3.27 per gallon to $2.58 per gallon. And no one quite understands how the new process works — but it works. “What we have achieved is process intensification – multi-fold increases in biomass throughput for a given size reactor – while preserving oil yield,” said Iowa State University’s Robert Brown, the Godfatha of catalytic pyrolysis himself.

March 02, 2018

From Our CR (Cedar Rapids seasonal magazine) — In the latest edition of Our CR, the City of Cedar Rapids gives an overview of the Iowa State University-Cedar Rapids Partnership. This partnership aims to increase cooperation and information exchange between faculty research and the City's agribusiness, food manufacturing and bioprocessing industries.

January 01, 2018

As part of the safety training day at the BioCentury Research Farm, Ryan Werner, a senior in industrial technology and BCRF student employee, shows new student employees and staff how to safely operate the telehandler.The BioCentury Research Farm hosted an Iowa State University safety training day for 16 new student employees and staff as well as current BCRF users. Also, the Bioeconomy Institute published information on their latest breakthrough in thermal deconstruction of biomass into biofuels and biochemicals called autothermal pyrolysis.

December 01, 2017

Mechanical engineering seniors, Elli Abel (left) and Lauren Griffin, presented their analysis of the BCRF's greenhouse HVAC system at the fall 2017 Mechanical Engineering Design Expo on Dec. 5. This fall the BioCentury Research Farm supported two capstone projects. The student teams were allowed to use space, tools and other equipment needed to complete their projects. Also, long-term bale storage studies have begun to determine the effects of outdoor weather conditions on individually wrapped round grass bales, and research on stover bale storage continues at the BCRF.

November 27, 2017

From Biofuels Journal — The Fermentation Facility at Iowa State University provides access to fermentation equipment and laboratory staff for the research and development of technologies and products for biofuels, renewable chemicals, and other industrial purposes.

November 01, 2017

Illustration of the autothermal pyrolysis processAutothermal pyrolysis with process intensification is the Bioeconomy Institute’s latest breakthrough in thermal deconstruction of biomass into biofuels and biochemicals. BEI is developing the basic technology and is working to demonstrate it on a commercial scale. In autothermal pyrolysis, only air is used as the fluidizing gas. As a result, the energy for pyrolysis is provided through partial oxidation of pyrolysis products within the reactor, thereby eliminating the heat transfer bottleneck of conventional pyrolysis.

October 18, 2017

John Strohl, Fermentation Facility manager, gives a tour of the BIochemical Processing Train to Ames High School students.On Oct. 10, the BioCentury Research Farm hosted 329 students from Ames High School's earth and space science classes. Also, the Bioeconomy Institute published information and a video on their latest breakthrough in thermal deconstruction of biomass into biofuels and biochemicals called autothermal pyrolysis. 

October 17, 2017

Martin Gross, Martin Gross, co-founder and president of Gross-Wen Technologies, (left) shows Charles Cleland, the national program leader for the UDSA NIFA SBIR program, the revolving algal biofilm (RAB) treatment system located at the BioCentury Research Farm.Iowa State University is a partner institution in a new, $104 million research center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. BCRF affiliate Emily Heaton will be a project researcher for the center. Charles Cleland, the national program leader for the UDSA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, visited and toured the BCRF. Emily Martin, ISU graduate student, gave an update on her bioreactors project. The BCRF provided her with biomass.

October 17, 2017

Picture of the revolving algal biofilm treatment technologyFrom Algae World News — Columbus Junction could count itself among pioneering cities in the struggle to treat wastewater if the city council approves new technology that favors algae over bacteria. Columbus Junction is considering installing a system developed by Gross-Wen Technologies to treat its wastewater.

October 17, 2017

Research cutting down tall grassIowa State University is a partner institution in a new, $104 million research center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the project will study the next generation of plant-based, sustainable, cost-effective biofuels and bioproducts. BCRF affiliate Emily Heaton, associate professor of agronomy, will be project researcher.

October 17, 2017

Evan Derse, a BCRF student employee and a senior in mechanical engineering, prepares holes for the Miscanthus transplants.The Plant Zoo demonstration plots have been planted, two BCRF faculty affiliates join a new carbon economy consortium, and an overview of the solvent liquefaction pilot plant is now available online.

October 17, 2017

The Bio-Polymer Processing Facility launched its first production run of biopolymers. The Bio-Polymer Processing Facility celebrated its first production run, a new tractor on loan to the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems engineering will be use at the BCRF and surrounding research farms and the BCRFcompleted several milling projects for on- and off-campus projects.

October 17, 2017

Robert C. Brown, left, explains new pyrolysis technology to Karen Fletcher, leader of the RAPID Institute for manufacturing; and Mark Gaalswyk, leader of Easy Energy Systems in Emmetsburg; during a recent tour of the BioCentury Research Farm. Photo by Christopher Gannon.Iowa State University will manage biorefinery projects for the new Manufacturing USA Institute, BCRF affiliates Robert C. Brown and R. Chris Williams were awarded a patent for a bio-oil formulation, and two BCRF student employees were recognized at the Iowa State Student Employee of the Year ceremony.

October 17, 2017

Picture of the algae wastewater treatment system.From Des Moines Register — Two Iowa State University scientists believe algae can help cut costs for hundreds of small Iowa towns that face up to $1 billion to upgrade their wastewater treatment to meet tougher clean water standards. ISU's Martin Gross and Zhiyou Wen could be part of the answer. They have developed a system that uses algae to remove phosphorus and nitrogen from wastewater, cleaning water before it's released into the state's rivers and streams.

October 17, 2017

Martin Gross, left, and Zhiyou Wen developed this algae reactor at the BioCentury Research Farm.Iowa State University technology that improves the efficiency of wastewater reclamation using algae has gotten the attention of small Iowa communities and the largest wastewater treatment system in the world. The system uses vertical conveyor belts, about six feet tall and three feet wide, which revolve in a continual loop, cycling through the wastewater and air as multiple layers of algae grow on them.

October 17, 2017

Jake Lindstrom, an Iowa State graduate student in mechanical engineering, loads a biomass sample into a Controlled Pyrolysis Duration (CPD)-Quench reactor. The system helps scientists better understand the products and mechanisms of fast pyrolysis.Iowa State's Robert C. Brown is a guest editor of the current issue of the journal Energy Technology. The special issue features 20 scientific papers about Brown's specialty: using pyrolysis technologies to convert biomass into fuels, chemicals and fertilizers. The special issue is all about an "improved understanding of the fundamental chemical, physical, and catalytic processes underlying pyrolysis technology.”

October 17, 2017

 From Iowa State Daily — As years progress, scientists and researchers have found evidence of climate change and global warming. With imminent climate changes happening on our planet, many people are starting to wonder what’s next in an economy that runs on fossil fuels. Emily Heaton, associate professor of agronomy, gave her keynote presentation “Perennial Power!” Monday night to about 20 people as part of the Osborn Club. Her presentation explored the steps needed to transition from a fossil-based economy to a plant-based one.

October 20, 2016

Iowa State's Robert C. Brown, left, explains new pyrolysis technology to Karen Fletcher, leader of the RAPID Institute for manufacturing; and Mark Gaalswyk, leader of Easy Energy Systems in Emmetsburg; during a recent tour of the BioCentury Research Farm.Iowa State will lead the biorefinery program of the country's 10th -- and just recently announced -- Manufacturing USA Institute. The institute is dedicated to improving the productivity and efficiency of chemical manufacturing. The U.S. Department of Energy will support the institute with $70 million over five years, subject to federal appropriations. Another $70 million is expected from the institute's partners.

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