The BioCentury Research Farm: Accelerating Biomass Production and Conversion Research, Development, and Outreach

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Johnson, Lawrence
Suby, Andrew
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Jarboe, Darren
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Center for Crops Utilization Research
In the 1980s a crisis existed in American farming—a crisis of overproduction, underutilization, and decreasing international market share for raw commodities. Also, the United States’ growing dependence on imported oil and long-term forecasts for increasing oil prices put America at risk. To address this crisis, Center for Crops Utilization Research (CCUR) was established in 1984 through a special appropriation from the Iowa legislature. The center was tasked to respond to the urgent need to improve America’s agricultural competitiveness. Four decades later, there are new opportunities to increase demand for Iowa’s crops. Consumer demand is increasing for new healthful food ingredients, biobased alternatives to petroleum-based products, and sustainable and environmentally friendly industrial processes. The rapid advancement of new food processing technologies and industrial biotechnology enable those demands to be met in an economically viable way. While CCUR’s core mission of increasing demand for Iowa crops remains relevant, the center is also taking these opportunities to grow our connection with companies and entrepreneurs to help them to test, troubleshoot, and optimize their ideas in an industrial-friendly setting.
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The Iowa State University BioCentury Research Farm is the first-in-the-nation integrated research and demonstration facility dedicated to biomass production and processing. The Farm was established to accelerate development of cutting-edge bioeconomy technologies by providing unique research, development, demonstration, and technology transfer facilities. Pilot-scale equipment and facilities for the entire biomass value chain are featured at the BioCentury Research Farm. The wide range of scalable research and experimental biomass activities include germplasm improvement; crop cultivation; harvest, storage and transport; pretreatment and preparation; and biochemical and thermochemical conversion. An overview of these capabilities for research, development, and service collaborations will be demonstrated using projects underway or recently completed by university and industry engineers and scientists. The BioCentury Research Farm also offers lecture and demonstration facilities for outreach events. How to collaborate with the BioCentury Research Farm to conduct projects and events will be presented.


This paper was written for presentation at the 2013 ASABE Annual International Meeting, Kansas City, Missouri, July 21 – 24, 2013. doi: 10.13031/aim.20131610492. Posted with permission.

Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2013