Iowa Researchers Develop Advanced Solutions to Produce Biorenewable Chemicals

SpecialChem - Jun 27, 2011

Laura Jarboe pointed to a collection of test tubes in her Iowa State University laboratory. Some of the tubes looked like they were holding very weak coffee. That meant microorganisms in this case, Shewanella bacteria were growing and biochemically converting sugars into hydrocarbons, said Jarboe, an Iowa State Assistant Professor of chemical and biological engineering. Some of the sugars in those test tubes were produced by the fast pyrolysis of biomass. That's a thermochemical process that quickly heats biomass (such as corn stalks and leaves) in the absence of oxygen to produce a liquid product known as bio-oil and a solid product called biochar. The bio-oil can be used to manufacture fuels and chemicals; the biochar can...

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