Iowa State University, ConocoPhillips and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have reached a Memorandum of Understanding to identify promising cellulosic biomass conversion technologies over the near, mid- and long-term. The collaboration will bring three independently established programs together to help identify the most efficient and cost-effective methods for making liquid transportation fuels from plants.
Transportation fuels today primarily come from petroleum, corn grain or food crops. The collaboration between NREL, ConocoPhillips and Iowa State will develop conversion technologies that will use cellulosic materials such as corn stalks, stems, leaves, other non-food agricultural residues, hardy grasses and fast-growing trees as feedstocks for future transportation fuels. The processes that will be examined in this collaboration include gasification, pyrolysis and fermentation.