Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences
College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences
College of Engineering

Yebo Li

Yebo Li
Associate Professor
105 Agricultural Engineering-OARDC

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.
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