The Bioeconomy Institute
Ames, IA

Norman Borlaug

The Bioeconomy Institute (BEI) at Iowa State University seeks to advance the use of biorenewable resources for the production of fuels, energy, chemicals and materials. A university-wide initiative which coordinates research, educational and outreach activities related to biobased products and bioenergy, the institute was established to create consistency and encourage collaboration among the diverse efforts in biorenewable resources on campus. BEI is an umbrella for more than 230 faculty and staff affiliated members, 35 departments in all eight colleges and over 20 research centers, institutes and programs.

One of the several research centers under BEI is the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC), which develops the tools needed to transform industrial chemical production from a petroleum-based industry to a renewable resource-based industry.

BEI is a close partner to many other research programs and initiatives. The BioCentury Research Farm is the first-in-the-nation integrated research and demonstration facility dedicated to biomass production and processing. The BioCentury Research Farm is a part of the Center for Crops Utilization Research (CCUR), which focuses on new processes, products and markets for corn, soybeans and other Midwest crops, exploring new uses for agricultural materials.

The Plant Science Institute strives to enhance Iowa State University’s international prominence in the plant sciences by building on traditional ISU strengths in plant breeding and crop improvement, crop genetics and genomics, bioinformatics and statistics.

The complete list of these BEI research centers, institutes and programs include:

  • Ames Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy
  • Biosafety Institute for Genetically Modified Agricultural Products
  • BioCentury Research Farm
  • Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD)
  • Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC)
  • Center for Building Energy Research (CBER)
  • Center for Catalysis (CCAT)
  • Center for Crops Utilization Research (CCUR)
  • Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS)
  • Center for Metabolic Biology (CMB)
  • Center for Nondestructive Evaluation (CNDE)
  • Engineering-LAS Online Learning
  • Genomics Technologies Facility
  • Institute for Physical Research and Technology (IPRT)
  • Institute for Transportation
  • Iowa Agricultural and Home Economics Experiment Station (IAHEES)
  • Iowa State University Extension — Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Iowa State University Extension — Value Added Agriculture
  • Iowa State University Research Farms
  • Iowa State University Research Foundation (ISURF)
  • Iowa State University Research Park
  • Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
  • Plant Sciences Institute (PSI)
  • Seed Science Center

Projects within BEI include ExxonMobil Corporation’s advanced research program, which focuses on producing liquid bio-oil that is upgraded into transportation fuels. Iowa State University and EcoEngineers recently partnered to create the Iowa Biogas Assessment Model, an online tool for estimating the potential of biogas resources in any Iowa location. Also, Iowa State University researchers are currently investigating how crop residue can be used as a carbon-negative energy.

With its devotion to growing a sustainable bio-based chemical industry, BEI is maintaining Iowa’s prominence in the revolution that is changing the way society obtains its essential sources of energy.

The Bioeconomy Institute promotes economic, environmental and social sustainability by advancing the development of biorenewable resources for the production of materials, fuels, energy, and chemicals.

Norman Borlaug

Improves environmental quality by reducing use of fossil fuels

Norman Borlaug

Creates jobs for rural communities where biomass crops are grown and processed

Norman Borlaug

Received $1 million investment from ExxonMobil Corp. towards advanced biofuels research program