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Tom L. Richard, Ph.D.

  • Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering
  • Director of Penn State Institutes for Energy and the Environment
  • Bioenergy and Bioresource Engineering
Tom L. Richard, Ph.D.
219 Agricultural Engineering Building
Shortlidge Road

University Park, PA 16802
Email:
Work Phone: 814-865-3722

Areas of Expertise

  • Lignocellulosic biomass conversion
  • Bioenergy
  • Manure conversion
  • Sustainable agriculture

Education

  1. B.S. Political Economy of Natural Resources, University of California, Berkeley, 1978
  2. M.S. Agricultural Engineering, Cornell University, 1987
  3. Ph.D. Biological Engineering, Cornell University, 1997

Research

Dr. Richard's Bioconversion Research Group applies fundamental engineering science to microbial ecosystems, developing innovative strategies for a more sustainable agriculture and the emerging bio-based economy. Our particular emphasis is on microbial processes that occur in three-phase porous media, where solid, liquid, and gas phases all play critical roles. These porous media systems are referred to variously as:

  1. solid-state fermentation in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and food processing industries;
  2. composting in the manure management and solid waste realms,
  3. ensilage on dairy and beef cattle farms, and
  4. soils in agroecosystems.

The complexity of these systems lies not only in their immediate physical, chemical, and biological dimensions, but also in the human and natural systems within which they are embedded. Understanding and improving the performance of these microbial processes demands a multi-dimensional perspective and invites interdisciplinary collaboration.

Research themes

Current sponsors include the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

For those who might be interested, my Ph.D. dissertation is available on-line:
Richard, T.L. 1997. The Kinetics of Solid-State Aerobic Biodegradation. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Engagement

We are pleased that our research has proven useful to businesses, schools, citizens and policymakers. The following links illustrate some of these contributions:

Teaching

  • B E 464 - Biomass Energy

For information about courses please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog.

Recent Publications

  • Hoffman, E., Cavigelli, M.A., Camargo, G., Ryan, M., Ackroyd, V.J., Richard, T.L. and S. Mirsky. 2018. Energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in organic and conventional grain crop production: Accounting for nutrient inflows. Agricultural Systems. 162:89-96. DOI:10.1016/j.agsy.2018.01.021

  • Malone, R.W.,  J.F. Obrycki, D.L. Karlen, L.Ma, T.C. Kaspar, D.B. Jaynes, T.B. Parkin, S.H. Lence, G.W. Feyereisen, Q.X. Fang, T.L. Richard, and K. Gillette. 2018. Harvesting fertilized rye cover crop: Simulated revenue, net energy, and drainage nitrogen loss. Agricultural and Environmental Letters 3:170041, doi:10.2134/ael2017.11.0041
  • Wolfe, M.L. and T.L. Richard. 2017. 21st century engineering for on-farm food-energy-water systems.  Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering 18:69-76, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coche.2017.10.005
  • Ligaba-Osena, A., B. Hankoua, K. DiMarco, R. Pace, M. Crocker, J. McAtee, N> Nagachar, M. Tien and T.L. Richard. 2017. Reducing biomass recalicitrance by heterologous expression of a bacterial peroxidase in tobacco (Nicotiana benthamiana). Scientific Reports 7:17104, https://www.nature.com/srep/ ; doi:10.1038/s41598-017-16909-x
  • Dale, V.W., K.L. Kline, T.L. Richard, D.L. Karlen and W.W. Belden. 2017.  Bridging biofuel sustainability indicators and ecosystem services through stakeholder engagement. Biomass and Bioenergy (in press), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2017.09.016
  • Liu, W., J. Wang, T.L. Richard, D. Hartley, S. Spatari, and T. Volk. 2017. Economic and Life Cycle Analyses of Biomass Utilization for Bioenergy Products in the Northeastern United States. Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining 11(4):633-647. DOI: 10.1002/bbb1770
  • Ramcharan, A.M, and T.L. Richard.  2017. Carbon and nitrogen environmental trade-offs of winter rye cellulosic biomass in the Chesapeake Watershed. Agricultural Systems 156:85-94. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2017.05.017
  • Bonifacio, H.L. C.A. Rotz and T.L. Richard.  2017.  A process based model for cattle manure compost windrows: Part 2. Model performance and application.  Transactions of the ASABE 60(3):893-913.
  • Bonifacio, H.L. C.A. Rotz and T.L. Richard.  2017.  A process based model for cattle manure compost windrows: Part 2. Model description.  Transactions of the ASABE 60(3):877-892.
  • Pandey, J.L., S. N. Kiemle, T.L. Richard, Y. Zhu, D.J. Cosgrove and C.T. Anderson.  2016. Investigating biochemical and developmental dependencies of lignification with a click-compatible monolignol analog in Arabidopsis thaliana stems.  Frontiers in Plant Science Research 7:1309. doi:  10.3389/fpls.2016.01309
  • Carroll, S., J. W. Carey, D. Dzombak, N.J. Huerta, L.Li, T.L. Richard, W. Um, S.D.C. Walsh and L. Zhang.  2016. Review: Role of chemistry, mechanics, and transport on well integrity in CO2 storage environments. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 49:149-160. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2016.01.010
  • Xiong, X., T.L. Richard and M. Kumar. 2015. Integrated acidogenic digestion and carboxylic acid separation by nanofiltration membranes for the lignocellulosic carboxylate platform. Journal of Membrane Science 489:275-283. DOI: 10.1016/j.memsci.2015.04.022
  • Kapp, N.E., W.J. Barnes, T.L. Richard and C.T. Anderson. 2015. Imaging with the fluorogenic dye Basic Fuchsin reveals subcellular patterning and ecotype variation of lignification in Brachypodium distachyon. Journal of Experimental Botany erv158. DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erv158.
  • Shao, X., K.M DiMarco, T.L Richard and L.R Lynd. 2015. Winter rye as a bioenergy feedstock:  impact of crop maturity on composition, biological solubilization and potential revenue. Biotechnology for Biofuels 8:35. DOI: 10.1186/s13068-015-0225-z.
  • Pandey, J.L., B. Wang, B.G. Diehl, T.L. Richard, G. Chen, and C.T. Anderson. 2015.  A versatile click-compatible monolignol probe to study lignin deposition in plant cell walls. PLOS ONE 10(4) e0121334. 
  • Bukowski, N., J.L. Pandey, L. Doyle, T.L. Richard, C.T. Anderson and Y. Zhu.  2015. Development of a clickable designer monolignol for interrogation of lignification in plant cell walls. Bioconjugate Chemistry 25(12): 2189-2196
  • Malcolm, G.M., G.G.T. Camargo, V.A. Ishler; T.L. Richard and H.D. Karsten. 2015. Energy and greenhouse gas analysis of northeast U.S. dairy cropping systems. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 199:407-417.
  • Dale, B.E., J.E. Anderson, R.C. Brown, S. Csonka, V.H. Dale, G. Herwick, R.D. Jackson, N. Jordan, S. Kaffka, K.L. Kline, L.R. Lynd, C. Malmstrom, R.G. Ong, T.L. Richard, C. Taylor and M.Q. Wang. 2014. Take a closer look: Biofuels can support environmental, economic and social goals. Environmental Science and Technology. DOI: 10.1021/es5025433.
  • Camargo, G.T.T., M.R. Ryan and T.L. Richard. 2013. Energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from crop production using the Farm Energy Analysis Tool. Bioscience 63(4):263:273.
  • Feyereisen, G.W., G.T.T. Camargo, R.E. Baxter, J.M. Baker and T.L. Richard. 2013.  Cellulosic biofuel potential of a winter rye double crop across the U.S. corn-soybean belt. Agronomy Journal 105(3):631-642.
  • Glanville, T.D., H.K. Ahn, T.L.Richard, J.D. Harmon, D.L.Reynolds, and S.Akinc.  2013. Effect of envelope material on biosecurity during emergency bovine mortality composting. Bioresource Technology 130:543–551.
  • Tanjore, D., T.L. Richard and M.N. Marshall. 2012.Experimental methods for laboratory-scale ensilage of lignocellulosic biomass. Biomass and Bioenergy 47:125-133.
  • Chen, Q., M.N. Marshall, S.M. Geib, M. Tien and T.L. Richard. 2012. Effects of laccase on lignin depolymerization and enzymatic hydrolysis of ensiled corn stover.  Bioresource Technology 117:186-193.
  • Speer, M.A. and T.L. Richard. 2011. Amplified insert assembly: an optimized approach to standard assembly of BioBrick™ genetic circuits.  Journal of Biological Engineering 5:17.
  • Lee, R.L., R.A. Aziz, C.H. de Brito Cruz, A.F.A. Chimphango, L.A.B. Cortez, A. Faaij, N. Greene, M. Keller, P. Osseweijer, T.L. Richard, J. Sheehan, A. Chugh, L. van der Wielen, J. Woods, and W.H. van Zyl. 2011. A global conversation about energy from biomass: the continental conventions of the global sustainable bioenergy project.  Interface Focus 1(2):271-279.
  • Baxter, R., G. Feyereisen, Y. Yu, and T.L. Richard. 2011. Winter crop and residue biomass potential in China.  Biofuels 2(5):503-513.
  • Durre, P and T. Richard. 2011. Microbial energy conversion revisited.  Current Opinion in Biotechnology 22(3): 309-311.
  • Richard, T.L. 2010. Challenges in scaling up biofuels infrastructure. Science 329: 793 – 796.

Research Interests

Biological Processing and Bioproducts

Bioenergy and Bioresource Engineering