Carbon Negative Technologies

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Date/Time:Monday, 28 Apr 2014 from 4:10 pm to 5:00 pm
Location:Physics 0003
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Robert C. Brown Bioeconomy Institute, Iowa State University

ABSTRACT - The most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests that carbon negative technologies may be required to mitigate rises in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The report describes schemes for bioenergy carbon capture and sequestration (BECCS) that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequester the carbon in the biosphere or lithosphere while also producing electric power or transportation fuels. For the past three years the Bioeconomy Institute at Iowa State University (ISU) has been investigating carbon negative energy based on the pyrolysis of biomass into bio-oil and biochar. Bio-oil is converted into fuels while the biochar, a carbon-rich solid that is recalcitrant to biological degradation, is incorporated into farmland where it serves as both a carbon sequestration agent and a soil amendment. This talk outlines some the challenges of carbon negative technologies and explores how pyrolysis is able to transform lignocellulosic biomass into energy and carbon sequestration products.

BIO - Dr. Robert Brown is Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering and Gary and Donna Hoover Chair in Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University (ISU). Dr. Brown is the founding director of ISU's Bioeconomy Institute (BEI), which coordinates ISU's research, educational, and outreach activities related to biobased products and bioenergy. Dr. Brown has written three books including Why Are We Producing Biofuels, which received the Book of the Year Award from Biofuels Digest in 2012. Dr. Brown received undergraduate degrees in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Missouri-Columbia followed by graduate studies in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University.