An Open-Access Book on Catalysis for Biomass Conversion

Achievement date: 

Researchers at the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) headquartered at Iowa State University, have published a comprehensive open-access book discussing the use of heterogeneous catalysis in the conversion of biomass and biomass-derived feedstocks.



The 2013 publication (see figure) was made possible through CBiRC’s international program in concert with NSF’s PIRE program (Partnerships for International Research and Education). Efforts like this enable international collaboration and learning on a broad range of topics related to the general CBiRC mission, which is to develop fundamental knowledge and technology along with academic and industrial partnerships to provide a foundation for transforming industrial chemical production from a petroleum base to a renewable-resource base.



The book emanated from a Summer 2010 school (held in Germany), which was co-supported by the PIRE program led by Abhaya Datye, CBiRC, and its international partners. (Reference: Behrens, Malte and Abhaya Datye (eds.) Catalysis for the Conversion of Biomass and Its Derivatives. Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge, Proceedings 2. Berlin: Edition Open Access (ISBN 978-3-8442-4282-9). 2013. ).

Each of the book's 13 chapters reflects a presentation given by a subject expert from the United States or Europe. As noted in the introduction to the text, “All chapters present introductory material designed to root the subject back into the respective disciplinary foundations as well as state-of-the-art results illuminating current knowledge. While a remote observer may be fascinated by the detail of understanding gained in some aspects of the treatment of the complex and non-uniform material called 'biomass,' the experts feel that the current understanding of catalysis, mainly devoted to increase the functionality of feedstock molecules for desired chemical reactivity, is still unsuitable to efficiently deal with the transformation of biomass. ”