Bioprocessing Research Group



Iowa State engineer scales up process that could improve economics of ethanol production

Iowa State University's Hans van Leeuwen has moved his research team's award-winning idea for improving ethanol production from a laboratory to a pilot plant.


Iowa State’s van Leeuwen named R&D Magazine’s 2009 Innovator of the Year

Iowa State University's Hans van Leeuwen, who has led research teams awarded back-to-back R&D 100 awards for biofuels developments, has also been named R&D Magazine's 2009 Innovator of the Year.


Research team wins R&D 100 Award

A team of 10 Iowa State University researchers win an R&D 100 for their work to use a microscopic fungus to produce biodiesel from plant processing wastes.


Research team wins 2009 grand prize from AAEE

A multidisciplinary team of researchers led by J. (Hans) van Leeuwen, CCEE, has been selected to receive the Grand Prize for University Research from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers for the entry “Single cell bio-oil from an integrated fungal lignocellulosic biorefinery.” The team includes David Grewell and Tae Hyun Kim from ABE and Prachand Shrestha and Micky Vincent from CCEE as well as members from food science and human nutrition and the Center for Crops Utilization Research. Additional information will be released when the award is presented in May in Washington, D.C.


Biodiesel from Yeast — and Iowa State Research

AMES, Iowa – Biodiesel production from traditional oil-rich crops is limited by land availability, climate, and environmental and social issues regarding the use of feed and food crops for fuel. But there’s another way to produce biodiesel that is green and sustainable and doesn’t compete with food crops. All it takes is some yeast — and research from Iowa State University.



Iowa State researchers win R&D 100 Award for ethanol project

Mike Krapfl, Iowa State University News Service

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University and University of Hawai'i researchers have won national recognition for their work to grow microscopic fungus in leftovers from ethanol production in an effort to improve the efficiency of the corn-to-ethanol conversion process.

The project has been named a winner of a 2008 R&D 100 Award presented by R&D Magazine. The Chicago Tribune has called the awards, presented annually since 1963, the "Oscars of Invention." This is the 30th R&D 100 Award presented to a project affiliated with Iowa State.




AAEE 2008 Award Winners

Iowa State University researchers, left to right, Anthony L. Pometto III, Hans van Leeuwen and Mary Rasmussen are the winners of a 2008 R&D 100 Award from R&D Magazine. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Research team wins 2008 grand prize from AAEE

The American Academy of Environmental Engineers honored the Bioprocessing Research Group's project titled “Value-added Fungal Byproducts from Corn Ethanol Plants” on April 30 at the National Press Gallery in Washington DC.












Lt. Gov. Patty Judge

Drs. Pometto (left), van Leeuwen (middle) and Khanal discuss their ethanol projects with Lt. Gov. Patty Judge.

Lt. Gov. Patty Judge visits Iowa State labs

Iowa State University News Service

Hans van Leeuwen, a professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, shows Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge how his research team is growing fungus in a co-product of ethanol production to make more valuable products. Judge visited research labs on Feb. 1 to learn about some of the biorenewable projects on campus. "The work that you're doing here will be a benefit not just to our state, but to our entire nation," she said. "We really applaud you." But, she said, "We can't rest on our laurels. That's my message for you today. If we are going to succeed in the next century, we will have to invest more in biorenewable energy and develop the bioeconomy for our farmers, our communities and our state."





Mitt Romney

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney visits the ISU ethanol research facility.

Presidential hopeful in ISU ethanol research facility


Presidential hopeful and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was in Iowa Thursday. The future of the nation's energy was a big topic as Romney toured an ethanol research facility in Ames. He received a lesson on what Iowa State is doing in the area of renewable fuels and what those fuels can be used for and ways to increase the ethanol production [More]







Iowa State researchers explore turning fuel ethanol into beverage alcohol

Mike Krapfl, Iowa State University News Service

Fuel ethanol could be cheaply and quickly converted into the purer, cleaner alcohol that goes into alcoholic drinks, cough medicines, mouth washes and other products requiring food-grade alcohol, say Iowa State University researchers.

But there’s still a lot of purifying and studying to be done before fuel made from corn is turned into your next vodka or mixed into your morning mouth wash.


Scientific curiosity fuels research by Iowa State professor on feeding corn milling co-products

Susan Thompson, Communications Service

Count Allen Trenkle among those who think increasing ethanol production in Iowa is a good thing. “I’m enthusiastic about it. We have opportunities in Iowa that other parts of the country don’t have, and one of those is to use this increase in ethanol production to increase cattle production,” he said.

Trenkle is a Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture at Iowa State University. He’s retiring after 44 years on the animal science faculty. But as an emeritus professor, he said his “scientific curiosity” will lead him to continue his research on how co-products of corn milling operations can be used as feed sources for livestock and poultry.


BRT Student Profile: Mary Rasmussen

Noel Holton Brathwaite, Office of Biorenewables Programs
Story from CCUR Bulletin

After graduating from the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota with a degree in natural science, Mary Rasmussen knew that she wanted to continue her education, but she had yet to discover her true calling. She decided to travel to Nicaragua to help out at a village orphanage for a year, and was dismayed at the lack of clean drinking water.

This experience led her to Iowa State University and the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, where she is currently pursuing a dual doctorate degree in environmental engineering and biorenewable resources and technology.