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The Ohio State University

Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Our People: Yebo Li

Yebo Li
Associate Professor
105 Agricultural Engineering-OARDC
1680 Madison Avenue

Research Focus:

Dr. Li’s research focuses on the development of advanced technologies for the production of bioenergy and bioproducts from renewable sources which can be commercialized by industry partners. His current research covers four areas: (1) anaerobic digestion, (2) Biopolyols and polyurethane, and (3) algae.

Anaerobic digestion:  Dr. Li has developed an integrated anaerobic digestion system for bioenergy production from both liquid such as animal manure and solid organic waste such as crop residues and yard trimmings. This technology is currently patent pending. With the funding from US Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Third Frontier program, he is closely working with Quasar Energy Group for the pilot scale testing and demonstration of this technology in Zanesville, OH.

Biopolyols and polyurethane:  Dr. Li has developed a patented liquefaction process (US 8,022,257 for the production of biopolyols and polyurethanes from lignocellulosic biomass and crude glycerin (biodiesel byproduct). This project is funded by USDA NIFA and the Ohio Soybean Council. It has been licensed to Bio100 Technologies LLC in Mansfield, OH for commercial production.

Algae:  Dr. Li has developed an integrated system for algae production using anaerobic digestion effluent as a nutrient source. The algae biomass residue after lipid extraction will be sent back to the anaerobic digester for biogas production. This project is funded by US Department of Energy. He is working with Touchstone Research Laboratory for pilot scale algae production and demonstration on Cedar Lane Farm in Wooster.

Current Research Grants 

  1. Li, Y. B, Lal, R., Shearer, S., Bakshi, B., Yu, Z. T., Hall, D., Halene, C., Yu, F., Mani, S. Bioenergy and Biofuels Production from Lignocellulosic Biomass via Anaerobic Digestion and Fisher-Tropsch Reaction, USDA-DOE Biomass Research and Development Initiatives  (BRDI) program, $6,510,183. 2012-2015.
  2. Li, Y. B , Buchheit, R. G., Bakshi B. Development and demonstration of a low VOC polyurethane coating system using biopolyols derived from crude glycerol. USD NIFA Critical Agricultural Materials Program. $418,965. 1/2012-12/2013.
  3. Li, Y. B. Characterization and Refining of Crude Glycerin Based Biopolyols. Bio100 Technologies LLC.  $ 300,000. 1/2012-07/2013
  4. Li, Y. B., Re-utilization of industrial CO2 for algae production using a phase change material. Touchstone Research Laboratory/DOE (Phase II, total DOE funds: 7 million dollar), $674,630. 1/2011-12/2013.
  5. Li, Y. B. Production of biopolyols and polyurethane foams from crude glycerin and soybean straw. Ohio Soybean Council. $55,683. 10/1/2010-3/31/20123.
  6. Li, Y. B. Production of algae for biofuels with effluent of liquid anaerobic digestion. OARDC-Seed grant, $50,000, 07/2010-06/2013.           
  7. Li, Y. B., S. Myers, Z. T. Yu. Accelerating commercialization of anaerobic digestion for bioenergy production. Quasar Energy Group/ODOD. $1, 493,820. 8/2010-7/2013.
  8. Li, Y. B., Pryor S., Liao, W. He, B., Shahbazi A., Wang, L. Christy, A., Michel F., Ezeji T. Biobased energy education materials exchange system (BEEMS). USDA Higher Education Challenge (HEC), $459,867. 10/1/2009-9/30/2013.
  9. Li, Y. B. Development of cost effective membrane system for treatment of AD effluent, OARDC Industry Matching Program, $50,000. 4/1/2009-3/31/2012.


  1. Li, Y. B., Y. Zhou. “Methods for Producing Polyols and Polyurethanes”. US 8,022,257. Awarded on 9/20/2011
  2. Li, Y. B., J. Zhu, C. Wan.  “Combined liquid to solid-phase anaerobic digestion for methane production from municipal and agricultural wastes”. International Patent: WO 2011/020000 A2.



"Bioenergy: Principles and Applications." Edited by Li, Yebo; Khanal, Samir. : December .


Wan, Caixia; Li, Yebo. "Solid-State Biological Pretreatment of Lignocellulosic Biomass for Biofuel Production." In Green biomass pretreatment and processing methods for bioenergy production. Edited by Gu, Tingyue. New York: Springer, January 2013.

Ezeji, Teddy C.; Li, Yebo. "Advanced Product Recovery Technologies." In Biomass to Biofuels: Strategies for Global Industries. Edited by Vertes, A., Qureshi, N., Yukawa, H., and Blaschek, H.. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons, January 2010. [View]

Li, Yebo; Cui, Fengjie. "Microbial lactic acid production from renewable resources." In Sustainable Biotechnology: Sources of Renewable Energy. Edited by Om Singh, Steve Harvey. Dordrecht: Springer, January 2010. [View]

Liu, Siqing; Bischoff, Ken M.; Li, Yebo; Cui, Fengjie; Azaizeh, H., Tafesh, A.. "Production of value-added products by lactic acid bacteria." In Biocatalysis and Biomolecular Engineering. Edited by Hou, C. T., Shaw J. F.. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley and Sons, January 2010.

Khanak, Samir; Li, Yebo. "Renewable and non-renewable energy." In Bioenergy: Principles and Applications. Edited by Li, Yebo; Khanak, Samir. : December .

Luo, Xiaolan; Li, Yeo. "Organic and carbohydrate chemistry." In Bioenergy: Principles and Applications. Edited by Li, Yebo, Khanal Samir. : December .

Li, Yebo; Sheets, John; Ge, Xumeng; Mani, Sudhagar. "Algae." In Bioenergy: Principles and Applications. Edited by Li, Yebo, Khanal Samir. : December .

Starch-based feedstocks. "G, Xumeng; Li, Yebo." In Bioenergy: Principles and Applications. Edited by Li, Yebo, Khanal Samir. : December .

Li, Yebo; Park, Stephen; Wan, Caixia; Khanal Samir. "Anaerobic digestion." In Bioenergy: Principles and Applications. Edited by Li, Yebo, Khanal Samir. : December .

Journal Articles

Hu, Shengjun; Li, Yebo. "Polyols and polyurethane foams from two-step sequential liquefaction of lignocellulosic biomass by crude glycerol."; Bioresource Technology.. Vol. 161 (May 2014): 410-415.

Zheng, Yi; Zhao, Jia; Xu, Fuqing; Li, Yebo. "Pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass for enhanced biogas production."; Progress in Energy and Combustion Science.. Vol. 42 (May 2014): 35-53.

Li, Yebo. "Biogas cleaning and upgrading to transportation fuels."; Ohio County Journal.. Vol. Mid-March, 2014 (March 2014): 32-.

Zhu,Jiying; Zheng,Yi; Xu,Fuqing; Li,Yebo. "Solid-state anaerobic co-digestion of hay and soybean processing waste for biogas production."; BIORESOURCE TECHNOLOGY.. Vol. 154 (March 2014): 240-247.

Gómez, Eddie F. ; Luo, Xiaolan Luo; Li, Cong ; Michel, Frederick C.; Li, Yebo. "Biodegradability of Crude Glycerol-based Polyurethane Foams during Composting, Anaerobic Digestion and Soil Incubation."; Polymer Degradation and Stability.. Vol. 102 (March 2014): 195-203.

Zhao, Jia, Ge, Xumeng. Vasco Correa Juliana, Li, Yebo. "Fungal pretreatment of unsterilized yard trimmings for enhanced methane production by solid-state anaerobic digestion."; Bioresource Technology.. Vol. 158 (March 2014): 248-252.

Sheets,Johnathon,P; Ge,Xumeng; Park,Stephen,Y; Li,Yebo. "Effect of outdoor conditions on Nannochloropsis salina cultivation in artificial seawater using nutrients from anaerobic digestion effluent.."; Bioresource technology.. Vol. 152 (January 2014): 154-161.

Shi Jian; Xu Fuqing; Wang Zhongjiang; Stiverson, Jill. A.; Yu, Zhongtang; Li, Yebo. "Effects of microbial and non-microbial factors of liquid anaerobic digestion effluent as inoculum for solid-state anaerobic digestion of corn stover."; Bioresource Technology.. Vol. 157 (January 2014): 188-196.

Zhao, Jiao; Zheng, Yi; Li, Yebo. "Fungal pretreatment of yard trimmings for enhancement of methane yield from solid-state anaerobic digestion."; Bioresource Technology.. Vol. 156 (January 2014): 176-181.

Hu, Shengjun; Luo, Xiaolan; Li, Yebo. "Polyols and Polyurethanes from the Liquefaction of Lignocellulosic Biomass."; ChemSusChem.. Vol. 7 (December 2013): 66-72.