Jon Van Gerpen is Professor and Department Head of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Idaho. He has held that position since July 2004. Before that, he was a professor of Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University for 20 years.
He received his B.S. (1978) and M.S. (1980) degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State and his Ph.D. (1984) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During a 14 month sabbatical, he worked on the design team at John Deere that developed a 12.5 liter engine.
Dr. Van Gerpen has been researching the production and utilization of biodiesel for the past 17 years and his current projects include the design and construction of a biodiesel pilot plant and the development of a nation-wide biodiesel education program. He has published numerous technical papers on biodiesel production from low-cost and novel feedstocks.
Biodiesel is an alternative fuel for diesel engines that is produced by transesterifying vegetable oils and animals fats with methanol or ethanol to make monoesters. Dr. Van Gerpen has been investigating the production and utilization of biodiesel since 1992. His work includes projects to explore the effect of biodiesel on engines, property characterization, production quality control and production from novel and low-cost feedstocks. He has been engaged in educational efforts with biodiesel including acting as the project director for a USDA-funded National Biodiesel Education Program that is in its second 5-year cycle of funding. In addition to biodiesel, He is interested in other biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol, hydrocarbons from lipids, and gasification.
Caliskan, H., M.E. Tat, A. Hepbasli, and J.H. Van Gerpen, “Exergy Analysis of Engines Fueled with Biodiesel from High Oleic Soybeans Based on Experimental Data,” Accepted for publication in Int. J. Exergy. 2009.
Graef, G., B. J. LaVallee, P. Tenopir, M. Tat, B. J. Schweiger, A. J. Kinney, J. Van Gerpen and T. E. Clemente, 2009. A high-oleic-acid and low-palmitic acid soybean: Agronomic performance and evaluation as a feedstock for biodiesel. Plant Biotechnology Journal. 7:411-421
Van Gerpen, J.H., A. Gray, and B.H. Shanks, “Convergence of Agriculture and Energy: III. Considerations in Biodiesel Production,” Invited participation to lead development of a CAST Commentary, The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, Ames, Iowa. Submitted June 2008.
He, B.B., J.H. Van Gerpen and J.C. Thompson, 2009. “Sulfur Content in Selected Oils and Fats and their Corresponding Methyl Esters,” Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 25(2):223-226.
Shrestha, D.S., J. Van Gerpen, and J. Thompson. 2008. “Effectiveness of Cold Flow Additives on Various Biodiesels, Diesel, and Their Blends,” Transactions of the ASABE, 51(4):1365-1370.
Pradhan, A., D. Shrestha, J. Van Gerpen, and J. Duffield. 2008. “The Energy Balance of Soybean Oil Biodiesel Production: A Review of Past Studies,” Transactions of the ASABE, 51(1):185-194.