[PHOTO]Biorenewables Research LaboratoryThe Bioenergy platform of Iowa NSF EPSCoR investigated both the challenges of producing large quantities of biomass in a sustainable manner and the unanswered questions of how to transport, store and utilize biomass within the current electric power plant infrastructure built in the last century to exploit fossil energy resources.

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Biomass Production

The biomass production team established three Bioenergy Agro- Ecosystem Research (BAER) sites in Iowa. These research facilities monitored fluxes of greenhouse gases, nutrients, carbon, energy and water associated with biomass production.

Biomass Conversion

This team focused on the  conversion of biomass into “feedstock intermediates” that have superior transport, storage, combustion, and gasification characteristics compared to raw biomass. This team also created open-source computational tools to simulate the thermochemical conversion of biomass.


The bioenergy platform leader was Robert Brown, Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering, Gary and Donna Hoover Chair in Mechanical Engineering, and Iowa Farm Bureau Director of Iowa State’s Bioeconomy Institute.

Research Examples

[POSTER]Biomass research project lead by Emily Heaton
A team supported by Iowa NSF EPSCoR is leveraging research and outreach from each of Iowa’s public universities to grow and use biomass in the University of Iowa power plant.
Researchers from Iowa NSF EPSCoR explored the use of biochar, bioenergy, and building infrastructure for the new bioeconomy.


The Bioeconomy Institute at Iowa State University advances the use of biorenewable resources for the production of chemicals, fuels, materials and energy. It administered the Iowa State University portion of Iowa NSF EPSCoR program.