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Ryan Davis

Process Research Engineer, Biorefinery Analysis | 303-384-7879

Research Interests

Ryan Davis is a process research engineer in the Biorefinery Analysis Section. His main focus is on techno-economic analysis (TEA) and life-cycle assessment (LCA) for biomass conversion technology pathways, primarily to hydrocarbon biofuel products. Currently Davis coordinates TEA modeling and analysis efforts for biochemical conversion strategies via lignocellulosic sugars as well as algal biomass projects, including efforts on fermentative and catalytic conversion pathways for cellulosic sugars to hydrocarbon intermediates as well as engineering and cost-analysis activities for the production and conversion of algal biomass to fuels and coproducts. Davis started working with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in 2009, prior to which he worked as a process engineer in the energy and refining industry. Davis holds a license as a professional engineer and serves as an associate editor for the journal Biotechnology for Biofuels.

  • Process modeling and equipment design

  • TEA

  • LCA

  • Biochemical conversion process pathways

  • Algal biomass production and conversion pathways

  • Hydroprocessing technologies

Affiliated Research Programs

  • Biochemical Analysis/TEA Modeling (PI)

  • Algal Biofuels TEA Modeling (PI)

  • ATP3 Algal Testbed Consortium (TEA lead)

  • Biochemical Validation (contributor)

  • Biochemical Process Integration (collaborator)

  • Biological and Catalytic Upgrading of Sugars (collaborator)

  • Lignin Utilization (collaborator)

  • Algal Biomass Conversion and Valorization (collaborator)

  • Lipid Upgrading (collaborator)


  • B.S., Chemical/Environmental Engineering (dual degree), University of Colorado

Professional Experience

  • Research Engineer IV, Process Research Engineer in the Biorefinery Analysis Section focused on TEA, NREL, 2009present

  • Process Engineer, Process Design Engineer in the Global Energy Group, CH2M Hill, 20082009

  • Process Engineer, Technology Marketing Designs Group, Chevron, 20072008

Featured Publications

  1. "The Potentials and Challenges of Algae Based Biofuels: A Review of the Techno-Economic, Life Cycle, and Resource Assessment Modeling," Bioresource Technology (2015)

  2. "Acid-Catalyzed Algal Biomass Pretreatment for Integrated Lipid and Carbohydrate-Based Biofuels Production," Green Chemistry (2015)

  3. Process Design and Economics for the Conversion of Lignocellulosic Biomass to Hydrocarbons: Dilute-Acid and Enzymatic Deconstruction of Biomass to Sugars and Catalytic Conversion of Sugars to Hydrocarbons, NREL Technical Report (2015)

  4. "Integrated Evaluation of Cost, Emissions, and Resource Potential for Algal Biofuels at the National Scale," Environmental Science & Technology (2014)

  5. "Infrastructure Associated Emissions for Renewable Diesel Production from Microalgae," Algal Research (2014)

  6. Process Design and Economics for the Conversion of Algal Biomass to Biofuels: Algal Biomass Fractionation to Lipid- and Carbohydrate-Derived Fuel Products, NREL Technical Report (2014)

  7. NREL 2012 Achievement of Ethanol Cost Targets: Biochemical Ethanol Fermentation via Dilute-Acid Pretreatment and Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Corn Stover, NREL Technical Report (2014)

  8. "The Energy-Water-Food Nexus through the Lens of Algal Systems," Industrial Biotechnology (2013)

  9. Process Design and Economics for the Conversion of Lignocellulosic Biomass to Hydrocarbons: Dilute-Acid and Enzymatic Deconstruction of Biomass to Sugars and Biological Conversion of Sugars to Hydrocarbons, NREL Technical Report (2013)

  10. Renewable Diesel from Algal Lipids: An Integrated Baseline for Cost, Emissions, and Resource Potential from a Harmonized Model, Argonne National Laboratory/NREL/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Joint Technical Report (2012)

  11. "Techno-Economic Analysis of Autotrophic Microalgae for Fuel Production," Applied Energy (2011)

  12. Process Design and Economics for Biochemical Conversion of Lignocellulosic Biomass to Ethanol, NREL Technical Report (2011)

  13. "Pilot-Scale Gasification of Corn Stover, Switchgrass, Wheat Straw, and Wood: 1. Parametric Study and Comparison with Literature," Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research (2010)

Recent Presentations

  1. U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Bioenergy Technologies Office Program Peer Review, algae and biochemical platforms (2015, 2013)

  2. "Techno-economic analysis for a novel route to algal biofuels via biochemical processing: Process and cost targets towards achieving viability," Algae Biomass Summit (2014)

  3. "2013 NREL Design Report: Biochemical Conversion of Biomass-to-Hydrocarbons Process Design and Economics," AIChE Annual Meeting (2014)

  4. "Integrated Algal Biofuel Baseline Analysis: Techno-Economics from a Harmonized Model," Algae Biomass Summit (2012)

  5. "Techno-Economic Analysis of Microalgae-Derived Fuel Production," Algae Biomass Summit and 33rd Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals (2011)

  6. DOE Algae Harmonization Workshop (2011)

View all NREL Publications for Ryan Davis.