Tristan R. Brown | Forest and Natural Resources Management | SUNY-ESF
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Tristan R. BrownAssistant Professor

Tristan Brown

302 Bray Hall
1 Forestry Drive
Syracuse, NY 13210



  • PhD, Biorenewable Resources & Technology, Iowa State University, 2014
  • JD, University of Missouri, 2008
  • BA, Political Science, University of Iowa, 2005

Areas of Research

  • Sustainable energy law & policy
  • Bioenergy systems analysis
  • Techno-economic analysis
  • Climate policy

Grants Funded

PI: “Development Of Stochastic Techno-Economic And Life Cycle Models For Quantifying The Economic And Environmental Costs Of Cellulosic Bioenergy,” USDA BRDI ($906,722).

PI: “Evaluating the Ability of Land to Replicate Indian Point’s Electricity Supply Profile,” Syracuse Center of Excellence ($15,000).

PI: “Development of Stochastic Techno-economic Model for Short-Rotation Woody Crop Production,” NEWBio ($10,000).


  • Razanakoto, A., T.R. Brown. “A comparison of the total energy efficiency and wood consumption from charcoal and fuelwood adoption in Madagascar.” Biomass and Bioenergy. Under review.

  • Brown, T.R. “A perspective on proposed changes to the revised Renewable Fuel Standard’s blending obligation.” Energy Policy. Under review.

  • Brown, T.R. “Price uncertainty, policy, and the economic feasibility of cellulosic biorefineries.” Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biorefining. Under review.

  • Brown, T.R., R.C. Brown. “What role for the bioeconomy in an electrified transportation sector?” Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biorefining. DOI10.1002/bbb.1747 (2017).

  • Hendricks, A.M., J.E. Wagner, T.A. Volk, D.H. Newman, T.R. Brown. “A cost-effective evaluation of biomass district heating in rural communities.” Applied Energy, 162: 561-569 (2015).

  • Kieffer, M., T.R. Brown, R.C. Brown. “Flex fuel polygeneration: Integrating renewable natural gas into Fischer-Tropsch synthesis.” Applied Energy 170: 201-208 (2016).

  • Brown, T.R. “A critical analysis of thermochemical cellulosic biorefinery capital cost estimates.” Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biorefining 9: 412-421 (2015).

  • Brown, T.R. “The economic competitiveness of thermochemical biorefineries: A review.” Bioresource Technology 178: 166-176 (2015).

  • Brown, T.R., M.M. Wright. “A framework for defining the economic feasibility of cellulosic biofuel pathways.” Biofuels 5: 579-590 (2015).

  • Zhao, X., T.R. Brown, W. Tyner. “Stochastic techno-economic evaluation of cellulosic biofuel pathways.” Bioresource Technology 198: 755-763 (2015).

  • Wang, K., L. Ou, T.R. Brown, R.C. Brown. “Beyond ethanol: a techno-economic analysis of an integrated corn biorefinery for the production of hydrocarbon fuels and chemicals.” Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biorefining 9:190-200 (2015).

  • Ou, L., T.R. Brown, R. Thilakaratne, G. Hu, R.C. Brown. “Techno-economic analysis of co-located corn grain and corn stover ethanol plants.” Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biorefining 8: 412-422 (2014).

  • Brown, T.R., M.M. Wright. “Techno-economic impacts of shale gas on cellulosic biofuel pathways.” Fuel 117B: 989-995 (2014).

  • Thilakaratne, R., T.R. Brown, Y. Li, G. Hu, R. Brown. “Mild Catalytic Pyrolysis of Biomass for Production of Transportation Fuels: A Techno-Economic Analysis.” Green Chemistry 16: 627-636 (2013).

  • Brown, T.R., R. Thilakaratne, R.C. Brown, G. Hu. “Regional Differences in the Economic Feasibility of Advanced Biorefineries: Fast Pyrolysis and Hydroprocessing.” Energy Policy 57:234-243 (2013).

  • Brown, T.R., R.C. Brown. “Techno-economics of advanced biofuels pathways.” RSC Advances 3(17):5758-5764 (2013).

  • Zhang, Y., T.R. Brown, G. Hu, R.C. Brown. “Techno-economic analysis of two bio-oil upgrading pathways.” Chemical Engineering Journal 225:895-904 (2013).

  • Brown, T.R., R.C. Brown. “A review of cellulosic biofuel commercial-scale projects in the United States.” Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biorefining 7(3):235-245 (2013).

  • Zhang, Y., T.R. Brown, G. Hu, R.C. Brown. “Comparative techno-economic analysis of biohydrogen production via bio-oil gasification and bio-oil reforming.” Biomass and Bioenergy 51:99-108 (2013).

  • Zhang, Y., T.R. Brown, G. Hu, R.C. Brown. “Techno-economic analysis of monosaccharide production via fast pyrolysis of lignocellulose.” Bioresource Technology 127:358-365 (2012).

  • Brown, T.R., R. Thilakaratne, R.C. Brown, and G. Hu. “Techno-economic analysis of biomass to transportation fuels and electricity via fast pyrolysis and hydroprocessing.” Fuel 106:463-469 (2012).

  • Brown, T.R., Y. Zhang, G. Hu, R.C. Brown. “Techno-economic analysis of biobased chemicals production via Integrated Catalytic Processing.” Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biorefining 6:73-87 (2012).

  • Brown, T.R., G. Hu. “Technoeconomic sensitivity of biobased hydrocarbon production via fast pyrolysis to government incentive programs.” Journal of Energy Engineering 138:54-62 (2012).

  • Brown, T.R., M. Wright, R.C. Brown. “Estimating profitability of two biochar production scenarios: Slow pyrolysis vs. fast pyrolysis.” Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biorefining 5:65-68 (2011).

  • Du, X., F. Dong, D.J. Hayes, T.R. Brown. “Assessment of environmental impacts embodied in U.S.-China trade and related climate change policies.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics 93:1 (2011).

  • Courses Taught

    Current courses

    SRE 416 Sustainable Energy Policy

    SRE 419/619 Energy Policy Assessment Methodologies

    SRE 337 Energy Resource Assessment

    Past courses

    FOR 208 Introduction to Sustainable Energy Resources

    ENS 335/535 Renewable Energy (co-lecturer)

    Books and Book Chapters

    • Brown, T.R. "Economic comparison of various pathways to pyrolysis-based fuels." In: Wang, K. and R.C. Brown, editors. Fast Pyrolysis of Biomass: Advances in Science and Technology. Royal Society of Chemistry, 2017.
    • Brown, T.R., M.M. Wright, Y. Roman-Leshkov, R.C. Brown. “Techno-economic assessment of biorefineries.” In: Waldron, K.W., editor. Advances in Biorefineries: Biomass and waste supply chain exploitation. Woodhead Publishing; 2014.
    • Brown, R.C., T.R. Brown. Biorenewable Resources, 2nd ed., 2013.
    • Brown, R.C., T.R. Brown. Why are We Producing Biofuels? Ames: Brownia; 2012.

    Current Graduate Advisees

    Current Graduate Advisees

    John FinlayJohn Finlay

    • Degree Sought: MPS
    • Graduate Advisor(s): Brown
    • Area of Study: FRM Sustainable Energy
    • Undergraduate Institution: University of Michigan Ann Arbor* (Earth and Environmen)

    Favorite Quote

    Jenny FrankJenny Frank

    • Degree Sought: PHD
    • Graduate Advisor(s): Brown and Malmsheimer
    • Area of Study: FRM Sustainable Energy

    HakSoo HaHakSoo Ha

    • Degree Sought: PHD
    • Graduate Advisor(s): Brown
    • Area of Study: FRM Sustainable Energy
    • Previous Graduate Study: Indiana University of Bloomington* (Energy/ Environmenta)

    Personal Statement
    My PhD research interest focuses on lifecycle economic analysis of biopower which is one of key sustainable energy resources to help meet our future energy demand. I am keen on techno-economic analysis (TEA) for modeling a whole supply chain of biopower which is from harvesting forest biomass feedstock through supplying electric power and/or heat. I have developed my research and analytical skills through various resources of the FNRM’s Sustainable Energy program such as coursework, seminar, and conference presentations.

    Graduate Research Topic
    Techno-economic analysis of forest biomass feedstock supply and biopower

    Favorite Quote
    “Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. If you do not change, you can become extinct” ― George Bernard Shaw & Spencer Johnson

    Kirsten McGiverKirsten McGiver

    • Degree Sought: MS in Sustainable Energy
    • Graduate Advisor(s): Brown

    Phoebe OPhoebe O'Connor

    • Degree Sought: MS
    • Graduate Advisor(s): Brown and Malmsheimer
    • Area of Study: FRM Sustainable Energy

    Patrick WickershamPatrick Wickersham

    • Degree Sought: MS
    • Graduate Advisor(s): Brown
    • Area of Study: Sustainable Energy