Chemistry graduate students at Iowa State University in Ames, with expertise in pyrolysis, have been encouraged by their professor to start a new company developing alternative fuels. The company, Avello Bioenergy Inc, is based at Iowa State's BioCentury Research Farm just west of Ames. The company is developing technology for fast pyrolysis, which rapidly heats biomass without oxygen to produce liquid "bio-oil" as a fuel and chemical feedstock, as well as bio-char, which effectively sequesters carbon dioxide and can be used as a soil improver.