Iowa State University started a new project of developing a thermochemical system that combines production of ethanol and thermal energy. With a low-emission burner and a new catalyst for ethanol production, the technologies use synthesis gas produced from discarded seed corn, switch-grass, wood chips and other biomass.
The team from Iowa State University includes eminent persons, specialized in different domains:
– Robert C. Brown, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Chemical and Biological Engineering and Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
– Song-Charng Kong, an Iowa State Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering who is leading development of the new burner and is overall project leader
– Victor Shang-Yi Lin, a Professor of Chemistry, director of Iowa State’s Center for Catalysis is leading the development of a new catalyst for ethanol production
– Samuel Jones, an assistant scientist for the Center for Sustainable Environmental Technologies.
Biomass-derived syngas, will be efficiently and cleanly burned while the catalysts primary function will be to convert the syngas into ethanol. “This project partners the thermochemical conversion of biomass with ethanol production. We’re not intending to replace grain ethanol production. We want to complement it” said Robert C. Brown.