Tom L. Richard, Ph.D.

Tom L. Richard, Ph.D.

  • Professor Emeritus of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Areas of Expertise

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


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


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. high-solids anaerobic digestion for renewable natural gas;
  3. composting in the manure management and solid waste realms,
  4. ensilage on dairy and beef cattle farms, and
  5. 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.

Dr. Richard currently directs the Northeast Regional Sun Grant Center for the USDA. Tom is the author or co-author of over 180 research and technical publications, a Fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, and a Fellow and Past President of the Institute of Biological Engineering.


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


Compaction effects on greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions from solid dairy manure
Journal of Environmental Management, Chang, Fangle, Fabian-Wheeler, Eileen, Richard, Tom L., Hile, Michael, 2023

Rye as an Energy Cover Crop: Management, Forage Quality, and Revenue Opportunities for Feed and Bioenergy
Agriculture (Switzerland), Herbstritt, Steph, Richard, Tom L., Lence, Sergio H., Wu, Huaiqing, O’Brien, Peter L., Emmett, Bryan D., Kaspar, Tom C., Karlen, Douglas L., Kohler, Keith, Malone, Robert W., 2022

Meeting global challenges with regenerative agriculture producing food and energy
Nature Sustainability, Schulte, Lisa A., Dale, Bruce E., Bozzetto, Stefano, Liebman, Matt, Souza, Glaucia M., Haddad, Nick, Richard, Tom L., Basso, Bruno, Brown, Robert C., Hilbert, Jorge A., Arbuckle, J. Gordon, 2022

Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on pharmaceuticals in wastewater treated for beneficial reuse: Two case studies in central Pennsylvania
Journal of Environmental Quality, Hayden, Kathryn, Jones, Matthew, Elkin, Kyle, Shreve, Michael, Clees, William, Clark, Shirley, Mashtare, Michael L., Veith, Tamie, Elliott, Hershel, Watson, J, Silverman, Justin, Richard, Thomas L., Read, Andrew F., Preisendanz, Heather E., 2022

Journal of the ASABE, Ciolkosz, Daniel, Memis, Berrak, Richard, Tom L., 2022

Redefining marginal land for bioenergy crop production
GCB Bioenergy, Khanna, Madhu, Chen, Luoye, Basso, Bruno, Cai, Ximing, Field, John, Guan, Kaiyu, Jiang, Chongya, Lark, Tyler, Richard, Thomas, Spawn‐Lee, Seth, Spawn-Lee, Seth A., Yang, Pan, Zipp, Katherine Y., 2021

Techno-economic Analysis and Life Cycle Assessment of an Integrated Wastewater-Derived Duckweed Biorefinery
ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, Calicioglu, Ozgul, Femeena, Pandara Valappil, Mutel, Christopher L., Sills, Deborah L., Richard, Tom L., Brennan, Rachel A., 2021

A semi-commercial case study of willow biomass production in the northeastern United States
Journal of Production Agriculture, Montes, Felipe, Fabio, Eric S., Smart, Lawrence B., Richard, Tom L., Rodrigo Masip, A., Kemanian, Armen R., 2021

Designing circularity into corn-soybean systems
Resource: Engineering and Technology for Sustainable World, Basso, Bruno, Jones, James, Richard, Tom, Sukup, Charles, Verma, Lalit, Matlock, Marty, Mohtar, Rabi, Herbstritt, Stephanie, Martinez-Feria, Rafael, 2021

The potential for expanding sustainable biogas production and some possible impacts in specific countries
Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining, Dale, Bruce E., Bozzetto, Stefano, Couturier, Christian, Fabbri, Claudio, Hilbert, Jorge A., Ong, Rebecca, Richard, Tom, Rossi, Lorella, Thelen, Kurt D., Woods, Jeremy, 2020

Robust paths to net greenhouse gas mitigation and negative emissions via advanced biofuels
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Field, John L., Richard, Tom L., Smithwick, Erica A.H., Cai, Hao, Laser, Mark S., LeBauer, David S., Long, Stephen P., Paustian, Keith, Qin, Zhangcai, Sheehan, John J., Smith, Pete, Wang, Michael Q., Lynd, Lee R., 2020

Technoeconomic and life-cycle analysis of single-step catalytic conversion of wet ethanol into fungible fuel blendstocks
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Hannon, John R., Lynd, Lee R., Andrade, Onofre, Benavides, Pahola Thathiana, Beckham, Gregg T., Biddy, Mary J., Brown, Nathan, Chagas, Mateus F., Davison, Brian H., Foust, Thomas, Junqueira, Tassia L., Laser, Mark S., Li, Zhenglong, Richard, Tom, Tao, Ling, Tuskan, Gerald A., Wang, Michael, Woods, Jeremy, Wyman, Charles E., 2020

Effects of ensiling time on corn silage neutral detergent fiber degradability and relationship between laboratory fiber analyses and in vivo digestibility
Journal of Dairy Science, Hristov, A. N., Harper, M. T., Roth, G., Canale, C., Huhtanen, P., Richard, T. L., DiMarco, K., 2020

Anaerobic bioprocessing of wastewater-derived duckweed: Maximizing product yields in a biorefinery value cascade
Agricultural Wastes, Calicioglu, O., Richard, T. L., Brennan, Rachel A., 2019

Corn stover harvest N and energy budgets in central Iowa
Science of the Total Environment, Malone, R. W., Herbstritt, S., Ma, L., Richard, T. L., Cibin, R., Gassman, P. W., Zhang, H. H., Karlen, D. L., Hatfield, J. L., Obrycki, J. F., Helmers, M. J., Jaynes, D. B., Kaspar, T. C., Parkin, T. B., Fang, Q. X., 2019

Economic comparative advantage of willow biomass in the Northeast USA
Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining, Langholtz, Matthew, Eaton, Laurence, Davis, Maggie, Shedden, Magen, Brandt, Craig, Volk, Tim, Richard, Tom, 2019

Technoeconomic and life cycle analysis of catalytically converting wet ethanol into fungible fuel blendstocks
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Hannon, JR, Richard, Thomas, 2019

Biomimetic rumination: Cotreatment's energy return on energy investment, Richard, Tom, Bharadwaj, Anahita, Diaz, Isamar Amador, 2019

Wet corn stover storage: Correlating fiber reactivity with storage acids over a wide moisture range
Frontiers in Energy Research, Essien, Dzidzor, Marshall, Megan N., Richard, Tom L., Ray, Allison, 2018

Effect of pH and temperature on microbial community structure and carboxylic acid yield during the acidogenic digestion of duckweed 09 Engineering 0907 Environmental Engineering 06 Biological Sciences 0605 Microbiology 09 Engineering 0904 Chemical Engineering
Biotechnology for Biofuels, Calicioglu, O., Shreve, M., Richard, Tom L., Brennan, Rachel A., 2018

Quantities, characteristics, barriers, and incentives for use of organic municipal by-products, Kashmanian, Richard M., Kluchinski, Daniel, Richard, Tom L., Walker, John M., 2018

Development and characterization of stable anaerobic thermophilic methanogenic microbiomes fermenting switchgrass at decreasing residence times
Biotechnology for Biofuels, Liang, Xiaoyu, Whitham, Jason M., Holwerda, Evert K., Shao, Xiongjun, Tian, Liang, Wu, Yu Wei, Lombard, Vincent, Henrissat, Bernard, Klingeman, Dawn M., Yang, Zamin K., Podar, Mircea, Richard, Tom L., Elkins, James G., Brown, Steven D., Lynd, Lee R., 2018

Bridging biofuel sustainability indicators and ecosystem services through stakeholder engagement
Biomass and Bioenergy, Dale, Virginia H., Kline, Keith L., Richard, Tom L., Karlen, Douglas L., Belden, William W., 2018

Energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in organic and conventional grain crop production: Accounting for nutrient inflows
Agricultural Systems, Hoffman, Eric, Cavigelli, Michel A., Camargo, Gustavo, Ryan, Matthew, Ackroyd, Victoria J., Richard, Tom L., Mirsky, Steven, 2018

Enhancing carboxylic acid yields from duckweed by acidogenic digestion
European Biomass Conference and Exhibition Proceedings, Calicioglu, Ozgul, Shreve, M. J., Urban, Nicole L., Richard, Tom L., Brennan, Rachel A., 2018

Ensiled wet storage accelerates pretreatment for bioconversion of corn stover
Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, Essien, Dzidzor, Richard, Tom L., 2018

The maize corngrass1 miRNA-regulated developmental alterations are restored by a bacterial ADP-glucosepyro phosphorylase in transgenic tobacco
International Journal of Genomics, Ligaba-Osena, Ayalew, DiMarco, Kay, Richard, Tom L., Hankoua, Bertrand, 2018

Process-based ecosystem modeling to estimate the relative climate mitigation value of carbon-negative bioenergy systems
AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts, Field, John, Lynd, Lee, Paustian, Keith, Richard, Thomas, Smithwick, E, 2018

Manure management with conservation tillage, Walter, M. F., Richard, T. L., Robillard, P. D., Muck, R., 2018

Machinery maneuvering efficiency and perennial crops: Field shape complexity defines the efficiency, Griffel, L. Michael, Vazhnik, Veronika, Hartley, Damon, Hansen, Jason K., Richard, Tom L., 2018

Emergent properties of sustainability: Using agroecosystem indicators within spatial and temporal frameworks, Vazhnik, Veronika, Parish, Esther S., Dale, Virginia H., Kline, Keith L., Richard, Tom L., 2018

Harvesting Fertilized Rye Cover Crop: Simulated Revenue, Net Energy, and Drainage Nitrogen Loss
Agricultural and Environmental Letters, Malone, R. W., Obrycki, J. F., Karlen, D. L., Ma, L., Kaspar, T. C., Jaynes, D. B., Parkin, T. B., Lence, S. H., Feyereisen, G. W., Fang, Q. X., Richard, T. L., Gillette, K., 2018

Reducing biomass recalcitrance by heterologous expression of a bacterial peroxidase in tobacco (Nicotiana benthamiana)
Scientific Reports, Ligaba-Osena, Ayalew, Hankoua, Bertrand, Dimarco, Kay, Pace, Robert, Crocker, Mark, McAtee, Jesse, Nagachar, Nivedita, Tien, Ming, Richard, Tom L., 2017

21st century engineering for on-farm food–energy–water systems
Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering, Wolfe, Mary, Richard, Thomas, 2017

Bridging biofuel sustainability indicators and ecosystem services through stakeholder engagement
Biomass and Bioenergy, Dale, Virginia, Kline, Keith, Richard, Thomas, Karlen, Douglas, Belden, William, 2017

Carbon and nitrogen environmental trade-offs of winter rye cellulosic biomass in the Chesapeake Watershed
Agricultural Systems, Ramcharan, Amanda M., Richard, Tom L., 2017

A process-based model for cattle manure compost windrows: Part 2. model performance and application
Transactions of the ASABE, Bonifacio, H. F., Rotz, C. A., Richard, T. L., 2017

Economic and life cycle assessments of biomass utilization for bioenergy products
Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining, Liu, Weiguo, Wang, Jingxin, Richard, Tom L., Hartley, Damon S., Spatari, Sabrina, Volk, Timothy A., 2017

A process-based model for cattle manure compost windrows: Part 1. model description
Transactions of the ASABE, Bonifacio, H. F., Rotz, C. A., Richard, T. L., 2017

Supplemental Material Harvesting fertilized rye cover crop: Simulated revenue, net energy, and drainage nitrogen loss, Malone, RW, Obrycki, JF, Karlen, DL, Ma, L, Kaspar, TC, Jaynes, DB, Parkin, TB, Lence, SH, Feyereisen, GW, Fang, QX, Richard, Thomas, others, None, 2017

Chesapeake Biomass: Market-based Strategies for Water Quality, Richard, Thomas, 2017

Multiattribute optimization of farm plans to improve economic, environmental and social conditions on the example of a farm in the Chesapeake Bay, Vazhnik, Veronika, Hansen, Jason K., Richard, Thomas Lehman, 2017

Investigating biochemical and developmental dependencies of lignification with a click-compatible monolignol analog in arabidopsis thaliana stems
Frontiers in Plant Science, Pandey, Jyotsna L., Kiemle, Sarah N., Richard, Tom L., Zhu, Yimin, Cosgrove, Daniel J., Anderson, Charles T., 2016

Review: Role of chemistry, mechanics, and transport on well integrity in CO2 storage environments
International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, Carroll, Susan, Carey, J. William, Dzombak, David, Huerta, Nicolas J., Li, Li, Richard, Tom, Um, Wooyong, Walsh, Stuart D.C., Zhang, Liwei, 2016

Modeling of carbon and nitrogen gaseous emissions from cattle manure compost windrows, Bonifacio, Henry, Richard, Thomas, Rotz, C, 2016

Integrated acidogenic digestion and carboxylic acid separation by nanofiltration membranes for the lignocellulosic carboxylate platform
Journal of Membrane Science, Xiong, Boya, Richard, Tom L., Kumar, Manish, 2015

Imaging with the fluorogenic dye Basic Fuchsin reveals subcellular patterning and ecotype variation of lignification in Brachypodium distachyon
Journal of Experimental Botany, Kapp, Nikki, Barnes, William J., Richard, Tom L., Anderson, Charles T., 2015

Corrigendum to Energy and greenhouse gas analysis of northeast U.S. dairy cropping systems [Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment., 199 (2015) 407-411]
Agro-Ecosystems, Malcolm, G. M., Camargo, G. G.T., Ishler, V. A., Richard, T. L., Karsten, H. D., 2015

A versatile click-compatible monolignol probe to study lignin deposition in plant cell walls
PLoS One, Pandey, Jyotsna L., Wang, Bo, Diehl, Brett G., Richard, Tom L., Chen, Gong, Anderson, Charles T., 2015

Winter rye as a bioenergy feedstock: Impact of crop maturity on composition, biological solubilization and potential revenue
Biotechnology for Biofuels, Shao, Xiongjun, Dimarco, Kay, Richard, Tom L., Lynd, Lee R., 2015

Vegetative buffer and fly ash pad surface material system application for reducing runoff, sediment and nutrient losses from livestock manure windrow composting facilities
International Journal of Energy, Environment and Economics, Webber, David, Mickelson, S. K., Richard, T. L., Ahn, H. K., 2015

Energy and greenhouse gas analysis of northeast U.S. dairy cropping systems
Agro-Ecosystems, Malcolm, G. M., Camargo, G. G.T., Ishler, V. A., Richard, Thomas Lehman, Karsten, Heather D., 2015

A systems view of lignocellulose hydrolysis, Tanjore, Deepti, Richard, Tom L., 2015

A Systems View of Lignocellulose Hydrolysis, Tanjore, Deepti, Richard, Thomas, 2015

Development of a clickable designer monolignol for interrogation of lignification in plant cell walls
Bioconjugate Chemistry, Bukowski, Natalie, Pandey, Jyotsna L., Doyle, Lucas, Richard, Tom L., Anderson, Charles T., Zhu, Yimin, 2014

Take a closer look: Biofuels can support environmental, economic and social goals
Environmental Science & Technology, Dale, Bruce E., Anderson, James E., Brown, Robert C., Csonka, Steven, Dale, Virginia H., Herwick, Gary, Jackson, Randall D., Jordan, Nicholas, Kaffka, Stephen, Kline, Keith L., Lynd, Lee R., Malmstrom, Carolyn, Ong, Rebecca G., Richard, Tom L., Taylor, Caroline, Wang, Michael Q., 2014

Compost Mixture Calculation Spreadsheet, Richard, Thomas, 2014

Biomass energy and the implications for climate and food: The US response
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 2014

Kinetics: Gas Phase, Richard, Thomas, 2014

Development of a lignin toolbox on one" negligible" auxiliary, Zhu, Y, Bukowski, Natalie, Doyle, Lucas, Vergari, Antonio, Pandey, Jyotsna, Anderson, C, Richard, Thomas, 2014

Cellulosic biofuel potential of a winter rye double crop across the U.S. corn-soybean belt
Journal of Production Agriculture, Feyereisen, Gary W., Camargo, Gustavo G.T., Baxter, Ryan E., Baker, John M., Richard, Tom L., 2013

Energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from crop production using the farm energy analysis tool
BioScience, Camargo, Gustavo G.T., Ryan, Matthew R., Richard, Tom L., 2013

Effect of envelope material on biosecurity during emergency bovine mortality composting
Agricultural Wastes, Glanville, T. D., Ahn, H. K., Richard, T. L., Harmon, J. D., Reynolds, D. L., Akinc, S., 2013

Technical Analysis for Nutrient Crediting of Manure Conversion Technologies, Stephenson, Kurt, Latane, Annah, Evanylo, Greg, Ogejo, Jactone, Beegle, D, Abdalla, Charlie, Pease, James, McGrath, Josh, Ignosh, John, Richard, Thomas, 2013

Computational study of lignin-protein non-covalent interactions, Pandey, Jyotsna, Watts, Heath, Kubicki, J, Richard, Thomas, 2013

Identification of lignin binding peptides using phage display, Pandey, Jyotsna, Tien, M, Richard, Thomas, 2013