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2009-2011 Courses and Programs

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Biorenewable Resources and Technology

Graduate Courses |500 |600 |

(Interdepartmental Graduate Program)

D. R. Raman, Chair
Program Coordinating Committee: R. Anex, R.C. Brown, L. Johnson, G. Kraus, M. Liebman, B. Nikolau, B. Shanks

Over 60 Iowa State University faculty members from 16 academic departments and five colleges are affiliated with the Biorenewable Resources and Technology (BRT) graduate program; a complete and up-to-date listing is maintained at:

Graduate Study

The graduate program in Biorenewable Resources and Technology (BRT) offers students advanced study in the use of plant and crop-based resources in the production of biobased products (fuels, chemicals, materials, and energy). The BRT program was the first graduate program in biorenewable resources established in the United States. This multi-disciplinary program offers the degrees of master of science and doctor of philosophy in Biorenewable Resources and Technology, and a minor to students taking major work in other departments. The curriculum is designed to encourage students to obtain co-major degrees in Biorenewable Resources and Technology and a more traditional science or engineering discipline. A thesis is required for the master of science degree.

Prerequisite to major graduate work is a bachelor's degree or prior graduate training in engineering or a physical or biological discipline, including agricultural sciences.

The core required courses in the Biorenewable Resources and Technology graduate program include: a foundation course entitled BRT 501 "Fundamentals of Biorenewable Resources", BRT 506 "Biobased Products Seminar", BRT 590 "Special Topics", and BRT 591L "Biorenewable Resources Laboratory". The elective core courses must come from an approved list of courses from a variety of traditional disciplines encompassing one or more of four areas crucial to the development of biobased products: plant science, production, processing, and utilization. Students must complete elective core courses from at least three of the four topical areas, selected in consultation with the student's Program of Study (POS) committee

Graduates of the program will be equipped with skills to develop and manage cost effective and environmentally attractive technologies for producing fuels, chemicals, materials, foods and energy from renewable plant biomass.

Information on application procedures and specific requirements of the major can be obtained from the following Internet address:

Courses primarily for graduate students, open to qualified undergraduate students

BRT 501. Fundamentals of Biorenewable Resources. (3-0) Cr. 3. S.Prereq: Undergraduate training in an engineering or physical or biological discipline or degrees in agriculture or economics. Introduction to the science and engineering of converting biorenewable resources into bioenergy and biobased products. Survey of biorenewable resource base and properties; description of biobased products; methods of biorenewable resource production; processing technologies for fuels, chemicals, materials, and energy; environmental impacts; economics of biobased products and bioenergy.

BRT 506. Biobased Products Seminar. Cr. 0-1. F.S.Prereq: Undergraduate training in an engineering or physical or biological discipline or degrees in agriculture or economics. Taken one semester for 1 credit and remaining semesters as R credit. Seminars and discussion on current topics in biorenewable resources and technology. Satisfactory-fail only.
A. Cr. 1. Paper required.
B. Cr.
R. Attendance only.

BRT 511. Bioprocessing and Bioproducts. (Cross-listed with A E, BSE, C E). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.Prereq: A E 216 or equivalent, Math 160 or 165, one of Chem 167 or higher, Biol 101 or higher or BRT 501, senior or graduate classification. Sustainability, cleaner production. Taxonomy, kinetics, metabolism, aerobic and anaerobic fermentation. Biofules, bioenergy and coproducts. Mass/energy balances, process integration, pretreatment, separation. Membrane reactors, bioelectrolysis, microbial fuel cells, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, mutagenesis. Term paper for graduate level only.

BRT 535. Thermochemical Processing of Biomass. (Cross-listed with M E). (3-0) Cr. 3. S.Prereq: Undergraduate course work in thermodynamics and transport phenomena. Introduction to thermal and catalytic processes for the conversion of biomass to biofuels and other biobased products. Topics include gasification, fast pyrolysis, hydrothermal processing, syngas to synfuels, and bio-oil upgrading. Application of thermodynamics, heat transfer, and fluid dynamics to bioenergy and biofuels.

BRT 590. Special Topics. Cr. 1-3. Repeatable. F.S.SS.Prereq: Permission of instructor. Investigation of an approved topic on an individual basis. Course content and requirements to be designed and developed in consultation with the student's major professor or instructor, but in all cases a formal report should be written.

BRT 591L. Biorenewable Resources Laboratory. (0-3) Cr. 1. Repeatable. F.S.SS.Prereq: Permission of student's major professor and instructor. Special topics laboratory and research experience in biorenewable resources and technology that affords an experience beyond thesis-focused research. To be designed in consultation with the student's major professor and instructor. A laboratory report is required. For student in the BRT program, BRT 591L may be taken twice. For student in the BRT program, BRT 591L may be taken twice.

Courses for graduate students

BRT 699. Research. Cr. arr. Repeatable. F.S.SS.Prereq: Permission of student's major professor.