ADM supports Iowa State research and development of biorenewable technologies

Cody Ellens with free fall reactor that produces bio-oil.

Cody Ellens, an Iowa State student from Lacombe, Alberta, Canada, who's working on master's degrees in mechanical engineering and biorenewable resources and technologies, works with a free fall reactor he helped design and build. The reactor uses heat in the absence of oxygen to convert biomass into a bio-oil.

AMES, Iowa, and DECATUR, Ill. -- Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) is joining ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) in supporting five Iowa State University research projects aimed at developing new technologies for producing and improving biofuels.

ADM, one of the world's largest grain processors and biofuels manufacturers, is supporting the five projects with a total of $300,000. The projects are also part of an Iowa State research program supported by ConocoPhillips, the third-largest integrated energy company in the United States.

The projects jointly supported by the two companies include development of thermochemical technologies to convert biomass into bio-oil, studies of catalysts for improving that bio-oil, evaluation of the costs of building and operating biorefineries and research of ethanol fermentation technologies.

Robert C. Brown, an Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering and Iowa Farm Bureau director of Iowa State's Bioeconomy Institute, is leading studies of bio-oil production and the evaluation of biorefineries.

The production studies are designed to develop new fast pyrolysis reactors that use heat in the absence of oxygen to produce a mix of vapors, gases and charcoal. The vapors are condensed to liquid bio-oil, which can be used as a heating oil or refined into transportation fuel and other biorenewable products. The biorefinery study will determine the costs of producing advanced biorenewable fuels using fast pyrolysis and other thermochemical technologies. The study will also determine the cost of building such biorefineries.

ADM and ConocoPhillips are also supporting two catalyst projects led by Brent Shanks, an Iowa State professor of chemical and biological engineering, and an ethanol fermentation project led by Thomas Bobik, an associate professor of biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology.

"We are pleased to have ADM as collaborators on these projects," Brown said. "ADM's experience in the biofuels industry provides useful guidance for our research programs at ISU. The real payoff of these industrial collaborations is the opportunities for our students to work closely with staff scientists and engineers at the companies."

Every day, the 27,000 people of ADM turn crops into renewable products that meet the demands of a growing world. At more than 240 processing plants, the company converts corn, oilseeds, wheat and cocoa into products for food, animal feed, chemical and energy uses. The company operates the world's premier crop origination and transportation network, connecting crops and markets in more than 60 countries. ADM's global headquarters is in Decatur, Ill., and its net sales for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2008, were $70 billion. For more information about ADM, visit

Additional information about Iowa State's Bioeconomy Institute is at