BioCentury Research Farm

Location: 

Boone County

Agricultural Engineering and Agronomy Research Farm
1327 U Ave.
Boone, IA 50036
(515) 296-6300

Owners: 
  • Iowa State University-565 acres
  • Committee of Agricultural Development-656 acres
  • 1,100 acres make up the Agricultural Engineering and Agronomy Research Farm and are available to BioCentury Research Farm (BCRF) researchers.

BioCentury Research Farm homepage.

History: 

The BioCentury Research Farm (BCRF) is the first-in-the-nation integrated research and demonstration farm devoted to biomass production and processing. Since opening in 2009, the BCRF has promoted and supported advanced research in the areas of biomass production, harvest, storage, transport, preparation, processing and analysis.

Soils: 

Terrain is gently sloping, broken by a rectangular gridwork of roads and fields. Much of the land is drained by tile and ditches because the land has poor natural drainage. Predominant soils are:

Clarion:
2-5 percent slope, very well drained, occurs on upland slopes
Nicollet:
1-3 precent slope, poorly drained, occurs between uplands and low areas
Webster:
0-3 percent slope, poorly drained, occurs on low-lying uplands

Research and Demonstration: 

The BCRF is located at and works closely with the Ag Engineering/Agronomy Research Farm. Examples of research and demonstration projects at the BCRF include:
Biomass production. Alternative biomass crop species including miscanthus, sorghum and switchgrass are being evaluated. Different biomass cropping systems are being explored, including development of perennial cover crops and management strategies for corn biomass production systems.
Biomass harvest, storage, and transport. Single pass biomass harvesting technologies that separate and gather corn stover and corn grain are being evaluated. Work on biomass densification and corn stover storage techniques continues.
Biomass preparation and processing. Grinding and sizing corn stover and woody biomass is underway. Further testing of pyrolytic processes and high-temperature gas filtration continues. Additional facilities include a thermal gasification system and small-scale fermentation vessels.
Outreach. Many tours of the farm host thousands of visitors. ISU classes also use the facilities.

Facilities: 

The BCRF offers opportunities for medium pilot-scale research in biomass feedstock production, harvest, transport, storage, preparation, biorefinery processing and laboratory testing. BCRF facilities include biomass production, dry biomass feedstock storage, biomass feedstock preparation, biomass chemical pretreatment, wet and dry fractionation, fast pyrolysis and thermal gasification, fermentation and distillation, cold storage, business incubator and office space.

Farm Reports