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DOE Awards Grant to Iowa State Researchers

January 26, 2017

BY AUSTIN GOODE | IOWA ENERGY CENTER

Iowa Energy Center grantee, Dr. Mark Wright, was awarded an Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) grant from the Department of Energy (DOE).

An Iowa Energy Center planning grant supported the first Energy Manufacturing Workshop held in Denver, Colorado where industry, academic and government partners were brought together to brainstorm ideas that led to the ARPA-E proposal.

Dr. Wright and his team of researchers from Iowa State’s University’s Bioeconomy Institute are investigating a new technology for converting biomass into biofuels and chemicals. This project is focused on developing and demonstrating catalytic autothermal pyrolysis (CAP) in laboratory- and pilot-scale reactors.

The goals of this project are threefold: 1) Demonstrate the conversion of biomass into gasoline-type fuel using a novel autothermal reactor that does not require external input, 2) Eliminate the use of external combustion units in advanced biorefineries; and 3) Reduce the costs of advanced biofuel production by more than 10%.

This new technology could help Iowans by enabling the use of our abundant agricultural residue, such as corn materials, for biofuel production. Ideally, these biofuels will help power Iowa vehicles and generate new economic revenue by providing clean, renewable biofuel to motorists across the country. Dr. Wright and his team believe that innovation in the production of advanced biofuel will reinvigorate energy manufacturing and support Iowa’s leadership in clean energy development.

This project is part of a larger program called the Innovative Development in Energy-Related Applied Science (IDEAS) program. The IDEAS program identifies potentially disruptive concepts in energy-related technologies that challenge the status quo and extend beyond today’s technology.

To learn more about Dr. Wright’s project, click here.

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