Brown seminar

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Direct Liquefaction of Algal Biomass for the Production of Biofuels
Robert Brown, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Bioeconomy Institute, Iowa State University

Monday, March 3, 2014
10:30 a.m.
Biodesign Institute Auditorium (BDB 105) [map]

Abstract
Direct liquefaction uses heat to deconstruct biomass into precursor molecules for subsequent upgrading to fuels. Direct liquefaction can be accomplished under gas-phase conditions (fast pyrolysis) or in a solvent (solvent liquefaction). Much of the early work focused on lignocellulosic feedstocks to produce a highly oxygenated liquid known as bio-oil. The lignin in these feedstocks is converted to reactive phenolic oligomers, which are relatively difficult to upgrade to fuels. More recently, zeolite catalysts have been mixed with lignocellulosic biomass during pyrolysis to directly produce hydrocarbon products, including aromatics and olefins. Unfortunately, the yield of fuel range molecules is only 20-30% of theoretical, primarily due to lignin in the biomass dehydrating to coke instead of hydrocarbons. Brown’s laboratory is investigating both fast pyrolysis and solvent liquefaction for the conversion of algal biomass, both whole and defatted remnant. Read more

Biosketch
Robert Brown is Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering and Gary and Donna Hoover Chair in Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University (ISU). Brown is the founding director of ISU’s Bioeconomy Institute (BEI), which coordinates ISU’s research, educational, and outreach activities related to biobased products and bioenergy. He has been annually recognized as one of the “Top 100 People” in bioenergy by Biofuels Digest since 2010.

Part of the Chemical Engineering seminar series