ConocoPhillips. The oil company will pay $22.5 million over eight years to fund a Biofuels Research Program at the school. The goal is to develop new renewable fuels that can be used for heat or as a transportation fuel. $22.5 million is a lot, but the company did make $15.55 billion last year.
Robert C. Brown, the Iowa Farm Bureau Director of Iowa State's Office of Biorenewables Programs, said in a statement that ConocoPhillips is "especially interested" in researching ways to use fast pyrolysis, a process that uses heat in the absence of oxygen, to decompose biomass into a liquid product.
The press release over at Renewable Energy Access doesn't mention him, but Iowa State is the home of professor John Verkade, who may have discovered a way to make cellulosic ethanol 40 years ago (but didn't realize it until recently, see here for details).
[Source: Renewable Energy Access]