Iowa State University



Robert C. Brown, Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering and Iowa Farm Bureau Director of the Bioeconomy Institute

Office: (515) 294-7934

Basil Nikolau and Jackie Shanks

Iowa State researchers looking for catalyst that allows plants to produce hydrocarbons

Iowa State University researchers are working to understand how a catalyst allows certain plants and algae to create simple hydrocarbons that could be a new source of liquid fuels. The project is supported by a four-year, $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation's Office of Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation. See story.

Laura Jarboe lab

First year of Center for Biorenewable Chemicals builds bridges to science, industry

A five-year, $18.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation one year ago established the NSF Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals at Iowa State University. The center's 24 researchers from nine academic institutions are working toward a goal of transforming the chemical industry from one based on petroleum to one based on biorenewable resources. See story.

Martin Spalding, professor and chair of the
department of genetics, development and cell biology

Green slime starts to shine

Natural photosynthetic systems that use solar energy to capture carbon are ripe for engineering innovation. One group holding promise for generating renewable biofuels and chemicals are microalgae, organisms Martin Spalding, professor and chair of the department of genetics, development and cell biology has been studying for over 30 years. See story.

Students in Iowa State University's first
Intensive Program in Biorenewables learn about riparian buffer strips during
a visit to a central Iowa farm.

Iowa States Intensive Program in Biorenewables shows students the action

Iowa State University's first Intensive Program in Biorenewables attracted 46 students from across the country and around the world. They spent two weeks in talks, tours, demonstrations and tests that covered the science, the opportunities and the challenges of developing a bioeconomy. See story.

Song-Charng Kong in his Iowa State combustion

Iowa Power Fund advances Iowa State development of clean energy technologies

Iowa State University researchers are working to produce clean, renewable energy by developing a new, low-emissions burner and a new catalyst for ethanol production. Both technologies will use the synthesis gas -- a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen -- produced by the gasification of discarded seed corn, switchgrass, wood chips and other biomass. See story.

Iowa State University researchers Matt
Liebman, Rob Anex and Andy Heggenstaller.

One-stop cropping

An Innovative Grant from the Plant Sciences Institute helped launch a project for the sustainable production of lignocellulosic feedstocks. These feedstocks will play a large role if the United States is to succeed in producing the 36 billion gallons of domestic biofuel by 2022, mandated by the Energy Independence Security Act of 2007. See story.

Iowa State University researchers test a corn
grain and stover system they're developing.

Iowa State Biobased Industry Center studies carbon emissions, other industry issues

Iowa State University's new Biobased Industry Center will support interdisciplinary research of the biorenewables industry and its economic, policy, business, social and workforce issues. The center is now sponsoring four studies, including three studies related to carbon emissions. See story.

Dermot Hayes.

Is food the new crude?

"In October 2006, the world suddenly recognized the energy value of grains," says Dermot Hayes, leader of the Plant Sciences Institute's Public Policy Task Force, Pioneer Hi-Bred Chair of Agribusiness and professor in the Departments of Economics and Finance. Now, along with an enormous surge in ethanol-producing capacity, a tug-of-war between fuel and food markets (which includes animal feed) has begun. See story.

The leadership team of the new NSF Engineering
Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals based at Iowa State.

Iowa State wins $18.5 million grant to create NSF Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals

The National Science Foundation has awarded Iowa State University and its research partners an $18.5 million grant to establish the NSF Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals based at Iowa State. The center's focus will be to develop catalysts that promote the chemical reactions that can efficiently produce biorenewable chemicals. The center is also expected to create university and industry partnerships that promote innovation, transform engineered systems, advance technology and produce engineering graduates who can creatively contribute in a global economy. See story.


Iowa State researchers study ground cover to reduce impact of biomass harvest

Ground cover may be one workable method to reduce the effects of erosion that future biomass harvests are predicted to bring. See story.

A Win-win situation: new crops and biorenewable fuels

Its estimated biomass fuels currently provide just 3 percent of the energy used in the United States. Researchers at Iowa State University hope to change that. See story.

Iowa State researchers Anthony L. Pometto III,
Hans van Leeuwen and Mary Rasmussen display the 2008 Grand Prize for
University Research recently awarded by the American Academy of
Environmental Engineers.

Iowa State researchers use fungus to improve corn-to-ethanol process

A team of researchers from Iowa State University and the University of Hawai'i are developing a process that cleans up and improves the dry-grind ethanol production process. The process uses fungus to reduce energy costs, allow more water recycling and improve a co-product that's used as livestock feed. The American Academy of Environmental Engineers recently awarded the project its 2008 Grand Prize for University Research. See story.

Iowa State-ConocoPhillips collaboration advances 26 research projects in first year

The first year of ConocoPhillips' [NYSE:COP] eight-year, $22.5 million research program at Iowa State University (ISU) has supported 26 research projects and helped establish new research collaborations to further diversify America's sources of energy and help meet growing energy demand. See story.

Robert C. Brown and graduate student Derek
collect bio-oil from Iowa State
University's fast pyrolysis equipment.

ISU, ConocoPhillips and National Renewable Energy Lab to cooperate on biofuels research

Iowa State University, ConocoPhillips and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have reached a Memorandum of Understanding to identify promising cellulosic biomass conversion technologies over the near, mid- and long-term. The collaboration will bring three independently established programs together to help identify the most efficient and cost-effective methods for making liquid transportation fuels from plants. See story.

Iowa State researchers developing system to efficiently convert biomass to ethanol

Iowa State University researchers are developing an integrated system of thermochemical and catalytic technologies to efficiently produce ethanol from plant biomass. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy recently announced they'll support the research with a two-year grant of up to $944,899. See story.

ISU study finds economic impact of ethanol in Iowa to support 8,169 jobs

Iowa State University economist Dave Swenson projects in a new report that when the 15 ethanol plants currently under construction in Iowa are brought online within a year or so, there will be 1,865 jobs in the state's 42 ethanol operations. Swenson's report also determined that for every job at an ethanol plant, 3.38 jobs in the rest of the state's economy will be supported. That means the state can soon expect to have 8,169 jobs supported by the ethanol industry. See story.

Iowa State scientist researches ways to squeeze two fuels from one kernel of corn

Getting ethanol from a corn kernel has changed the way the country looks at a corn field. Now, that view might change again. Iowa State University researcher Tong Wang is researching new ways to maximize the amount of oil that can be recovered after a corn kernel is used for ethanol fermentation. See story.

Terry Meyer in his Iowa State research lab.

Iowa State engineer develops laser technologies to analyze combustion, biofuels

Terry Meyer, an Iowa State University assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is using laser technology to develop advanced sensors capable of analyzing the combustion inside engines, power generators and heating systems. He'll use the sensors to study -- and potentially improve -- the combustion of alternative fuels. See story.

Iowa State establishes Bioeconomy Institute to advance biorenewable research

Iowa State University is establishing a Bioeconomy Institute to help the university and state maintain their leadership in biorenewable fuels, chemicals and technologies.The initial work of the institute will focus on six program areas: corn to biofuels; biorenewable chemicals; thermochemical technologies such as gasification and fast pyrolysis; harvest, storage and transportation of biomass; feedstock production; and biorenewables education. See story.

DuPont Partners with Iowa State to Enhance Biofuels Production

DuPont today announced a pledge of $1 million to the Iowa State University New Century Farm, the first research effort in the United States to focus on producing cellulosic ethanol on the farm. The research efforts also will focus on enhancing the production, processing and utilization of feedstocks for biofuels and biomaterials.See story.

Iowa State University conference examines developing bioeconomy

The 2007 Biobased Industry Outlook Conference, "Growing the Bioeconomy," will be Nov. 5 and 6 at the Iowa State Center on the Iowa State University campus. The conference will include speakers such as venture capitalist and ethanol supporter Vinod Khosla and genomics researcher J. Craig Venter. See story.

Robert Anex check biomass crops on an Iowa
test farm.

Iowa State researcher studies the sustainability of the bioeconomy

Will a bioeconomy that produces fuel and chemicals from biorenewable resources be sustainable? Robert Anex, an Iowa State associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, is leading several studies looking for some answers. One study found an integrated process for producing ethanol from plant fiber could recycle plant nutrients back to the soil. Another project has developed a Web tool that helps farmers simulate how biomass production could affect their operations. See story.

ISU receives USDA grant to develop undergraduate program in biobased products

Faculty at Iowa State University were recently awarded a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to create an interdisciplinary undergraduate certificate program in biobased products combining technology and entrepreneurship education. See story.

Justinus Satrio in an Iowa State University

Doctor of research management

Justinus Satrio, the 39-year-old program manager for Iowa State's Center for Sustainable Environmental Technologies, manages a handful of research projects and keeps them moving ahead. He also finds time to get in the lab as a research scientist. All of that takes a lot of work. See Inside Iowa State story.

Iowa State chemist hopes startup company can revolutionize biodiesel production

Line up millions of Victor Lin's nanospheres and you've traveled a meter. But those particles -- and just the right chemistry filling the channels that run through them -- could make a big difference in biodiesel production. See story.

Chemist develops new screening method to help find better biofuel crops

Analytical chemist Emily Smith of the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory plans to use Raman imaging to study plant cell structure to determine which crops offer the right combination of cell wall composition and degradation to maximize the materials' conversion to ethanol. Just like vintners monitor and test the sugar content of their grapes in the field, biofuel producers could potentially use this technology to determine if their crop was at optimal development for conversion to ethanol, said Smith, who is also an Iowa State University assistant professor of chemistry. See story.

Iowa State University fast pyrolysis research

ConocoPhillips establishes $22.5 million biofuels research program at Iowa State

ConocoPhillips will support Iowa State scientists and engineers as they research and develop a biofuel-production technology called fast pyrolysis. The technology uses heat in the absence of oxygen to decompose biomass into a liquid product. The energy company will also support research of the plant sciences and crop production, the harvesting and transportation of biomass and the impacts of biofuels on economic policy and rural sociology. See story.

See and hear about small towns and the bioeconomy

The conference, "Community Futures: The Small Town in the Bioeconomy," recently explored the impact and implications of the emerging bioeconomy for Iowa's small communities, with a keynote address by Gov. Chet Culver. There were also presentations, panel discussions and breakout sessions with economists, sociologists, designers, extension staff and local officials. See and hear the presentations.

Science and Society shifts focus to bioeconomy

John Miranowski

The bioeconomy has become a major focus of both the federal government and Iowa State University. The Institute of Science and Society in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is jumping on the bandwagon. "In light of the literal 'explosion' of the bioeconomy in Iowa as well as the nation, the university's growing focus on bioeconomy issues, and the positive and negative consequences of bioeconomy expansion for the environment, we are expanding the current focus of the Institute," said John Miranowski, professor of economics and Science and Society director. See story.

International biotech company to open office at the Iowa State Research Park

Novozymes, a Denmark-based biotechnology company, expects to open its first Midwest office at the Iowa State University Research Park in April. The office staff will support customers in the ethanol industry, offer training for customers and research new technologies to help make ethanol from plant fiber. Some of the company's researchers may work with Iowa State University scientists. See story.

Modifying plant lignin for biofuel production

Ramesh Nair and Patrick Schnable in an Iowa
State lab

Plant biomass is being touted as the up-and-coming source for biofuels. There's a challenge however -- biomass, such as corn stover, switchgrass and other feedstocks, is tough and not easily converted to ethanol. Ramesh Nair, associate scientist in the Plant Sciences Institute, is looking to modify feedstocks so they can be more readily converted to ethanol. See story.

Scientific curiosity fuels Iowa State professor's study of feeding corn milling co-products

Allen Trenkle

Count Allen Trenkle among those who think increasing ethanol production in Iowa is a good thing. "I'm enthusiastic about it. We have opportunities in Iowa that other parts of the country don't have, and one of those is to use this increase in ethanol production to increase cattle production," he said. Trenkle is a Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture at Iowa State University. He's retiring this month after 44 years on the animal science faculty. But as an emeritus professor, he said his "scientific curiosity" will lead him to continue his research on how co-products of corn milling operations can be used as feed sources for livestock and poultry. See story.

Report, recommendations from bioeconomy summit

The final report and recommendations resulting from a recent summit on maintaining Iowa's leadership in the bioeconomy has been released. More than 400 leaders from Iowa industry, government and higher education met on campus Nov. 28 for the summit on "Ensuring Iowa's Leadership in the Bioeconomy." Video of the conference sessions and the final report are on the Summit web site.

John Deere combine with attachments to harvest
corn stover

Iowa State researchers developing machinery to harvest corn stalks and leaves

Iowa State University researchers are developing front and rear attachments that allow a conventional combine to harvest corn stover (the stalks, cobs and leaves) as well as grain. The stover could be the source of plant fiber that feeds the next generation of ethanol plants. See story.

An old discovery could boost ethanol production from plant fiber

John Verkade and Reed Oshel

A discovery some 40 years ago is showing promise as a chemical pre-treatment that breaks down plant fiber. That could release the simple sugars in corn stalks or switchgrass so they can be fermented into ethanol. That could boost ethanol production. And that could add value to Iowa's crops or the fibrous co-products of ethanol production. "We knew we were tearing some things up in the cellulose," said John Verkade, a University Professor of chemistry at Iowa State. See story.

New oil sources

David Oliver

One Iowa State scientist is hoping to strike oil -- but not by drilling wells. David Oliver, a member of the Center for Designer Crops, is researching an untapped source in plant leaves. Oliver's first objective of the research, which is funded by a Plant Sciences Institute Innovative grant, is to prove conclusively that oils exist in the leaves of the boxwood plant. Preliminary data using three different methods shows biochemical evidence of oil in boxwood leaves. See story.

David Grewell

Iowa State researchers improving plastics made from corn and soy proteins

Iowa State University researchers are using ultrasonics to break up and disperse nanoclays that can reinforce biorenewable and biodegradable plastics made from corn and soy proteins. See story.

"Town Hall" meeting on biorenewable resources

Gregory Geoffroy

In an Oct. 23 "Town Hall Meeting on the Bioeconomy Initiative," President Gregory Geoffroy and other members of the campus community discussed Iowa State's current expertise in biorenewables and biorenewable fuels and future opportunities in this rapidly growing area. View the video.

Iowa State part of partnership competing for BP biofuels research laboratory

A partnership of the University of California, San Diego, Iowa State University and the J. Craig Venter Institute will compete for BP's $500 million Energy Biosciences Institute. See story.

Is Iowa ready to lead the era of cellulosic energy?

Iowa has made tremendous strides in developing its ethanol industry, and we are, without question, the nation's leader in production of grain ethanol from corn. But we have taken only the first step in achieving our shared vision of Iowa sustaining its leadership in the emerging bioeconomy. See essay by Gregory Geoffroy, Robert C. Brown and Bruce Babcock.

Farming that improves the environment

Iowa State University researchers say burning some of the residue left in corn fields produces products that can be used to improve soil fertility, boost in-soil storage of greenhouse gases and reduce the amount of natural gas used to produce anhydrous ammonia fertilizer. See story.

James Bushnell

Cargill Chair in Energy Economics

James Bushnell, formerly of the University of California Energy Institute, has been named Iowa State University's first Cargill Endowed Chair in Energy Economics. He'll also lead Iowa State's Biobased Industry Center. See story.

Maria Salas-Fernandez

Sorghum solution

By introducing sorghum, Maria Salas-Fernandez, assistant professor in the department of agronomy, is bringing new depth to Iowa State's burgeoning breeding program in forages and biofuel feedstocks. Salas-Fernandez will blend traditional breeding strategies with her molecular biology and genomics expertise. See story.

Catherine Brewer

Building character

Academic alchemist Catherine Brewer is blending study disciplines to create her own unique niche. The Washington State native now in her second year as a doctoral student at Iowa State, has morphed an interest in English to chemistry into her current passion, chemical engineering. As an undergraduate, Brewer developed an interest in green chemistry, using biocatalysts -- enzymes, rather than metal catalysts to promote chemical reactions. See story.

Partnering on pyrolysis

A project jointly funded by the Plant Sciences Institute and the ConocoPhillips Company will define the most desirable feedstock traits for optimum bio-oil production through fast pyrolysis. Bio-oil can be produced from renewable biomass sources, such as the non-grain portions of corn and perennial grasses via a thermochemical process called fast pyrolysis. But some feedstock properties appear able to yield better bio-oil than others. See story.

David Peters.

Ethanol profitability calculator developed by Iowa State University researcher

David Peters, an assistant professor of sociology in Iowa State's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has been getting questions about the profitability of ethanol plants under current market conditions and decided to create a spreadsheet that would allow anyone to figure it out for themselves. See Story.

Anex named to U.S. EPA advisory group on sustainability

Robert Anex, an associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering and associate director for research for ISU's Bioeconomy Institute, has been named to the Science and Technology for Sustainability Subcommittee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Board of Scientific Counselors. See story.

Biomass management program to help Iowans

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and the Iowa Learning Farm are coordinating a three-year project that focuses on cellulosic biomass management. The program will offer education and outreach opportunities to industry, farmers, crop consultants, and technical service providers across Iowa. See story.

Integrating food, feed and fuels

Iowa State University's New Century Farm is no longer just an idea on paper. At this writing, ground has been broken, earth moved and footings placed. Bioenergy candidate crops are in the ground already on this 1,000-acre farm due west of Ames, and research on biomass harvesting, transportation, storage and processing can begin in 2009 with the completion of the first buildings. See story.

Cargill endows Iowa State faculty chair to accelerate biorenewables

Cargill has pledged $1.5 million to Iowa State University to establish the Cargill Endowed Chair in Energy Economics. The endowment will help Iowa State recruit a nationally recognized energy economist to accelerate work in biorenewables and bring crucial leadership to the biobased industry center in its early development. See story.

Emily Heaton

New agronomist brings miscanthus expertise to Iowa State

Production biomass agronomist Emily Heaton is touting the benefits of the perennial grass miscanthus. And she should know; Heaton is one of the only people in the U.S. to have any published research on the topic. See story.

Harvesting wood as a biofuel

Rick Hall, a forestry professor in the natural resource ecology and management department, is researching the selection of genetically improved cottonwoods, aspens and other tree species for use in the biofuels and new products industries. See video.

Bioeconomy crops.

Iowa State and the bioeconomy

All across campus, researchers are looking for ways to improve the science, the economics, and the impacts of replacing petroleum with plants that can be processed into biorenewable fuels, chemicals, and products. See story.

Not just another brick in the wall

Plant cell walls are central to cellulosic ethanol because they are the raw material for next-generation biofuels. For this reason, the Plant Sciences Institute is investing in plant cell wall research, laying a foundation to advance feedstock development for cellulosic ethanol production in Iowa. See story.

Iowa State researcher seeks to improve efficiency of ethanol process

A research collaboration between Iowa State University professor Jay-lin Jane and POET Energy is hoping to find starches to further improve the efficiency of POET's patent-pending BPX process. See story.

An illustration of the structure of an
endoglucanase enzyme

Iowa State researcher studies how enzymes break down cellulose

Iowa State University's Peter Reilly is working to understand how the structures of enzymes influence their mechanism and activity in breaking down cellulose. His work is opening doors for new and better applications of enzymes. Better enzymes, for example, could be a key to making the production of cellulosic ethanol more efficient and more economical. See story.

Emily Smith in her lab.

Getting a rapid read on plants

A new tool being developed at Iowa State will allow scientists to swiftly assess the chemical content of qualities in plants being selected and grown for eventual conversion to biofuels. Emily Smith, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, is developing the tool with the help of funding jointly provided by Ames Laboratory and the Plant Sciences Institute. See story.

Iowa State-ConocoPhillips alternative fuel project selected for $2 million award

The U.S. Department of Energy has selected an Iowa State University-ConocoPhillips research project for an award up to $2 million. The award will result in the design and construction of a biomass gasifier and gas cleanup system at Iowa State. The equipment will be used to analyze and improve a process for converting biomass into synthetic diesel fuel. See story.

Stephen Howell

Let's make everyone a winner

Feeling a pinch at the pump and in the grocery cart? The demand for corn to produce biofuels is a boon for Iowa's economy, but is hitting our pocketbooks. The Washington Post says, "Corn price increases flow like gravy down the food chain, to grocery stores and menus. Beef prices are up. So are the costs of milk, cereal, eggs, chicken and pork." See essay by Stephen Howell

Study analyzes growth in European and American biodiesel industries

Worldwide production of biodiesel is growing at a rapid pace. Arguably, the European Union is the global leader in biodiesel production, but the United States has recently expanded its production. The growth of the biodiesel industry in both regions has been fueled by a series of government-provided financial incentives. See study.

Study examines growth and direction of the U.S. biodiesel industry

The biodiesel industry in the United States has realized significant growth over the past decade through large increases in annual production and production capacity and a transition from smaller batch plants to larger-scale continuous producers. The larger, continuous-flow plants provide operating cost advantages over the smaller batch plants through their ability to capture co-products and reuse certain components in the production process. See study.

Study: Ethanol expansion will impact U.S. grain and livestock markets

Projections of U.S. ethanol production and its impacts on planted acreage, crop prices, livestock production and prices, trade, and retail food costs are presented under the assumption that current tax credits and trade policies are maintained. The study indicates expansion of the ethanol industry will raise the retail prices of meat, egg and dairy products.

See study.
Matt Liebman

On the cusp of an agricultural transformation

As the nation gears up to make a tremendous increase in biofuel production, Iowa State scientists have a vision for farms of the future. Many of these farms will produce high yields of biomass for biofuels and industrial products. Not only that, they also will be energy efficient and good for the environment.

See story.

Biodiesel byproduct effective in swine and poultry feed

With the rapid expansion of ethanol and biodiesel production in Iowa, there are questions about possible uses for what remains after these alternative fuels leave the plant. So far, the use of ethanol by-products in animal feed has received most of the attention. But researchers at Iowa State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Services also are studying a biodiesel by-product in swine and poultry feed. See story.

ISU Extension conducts statewide discussions on the bioeconomy

Iowa State University Extension recently sponsored community discussions at 100 locations around the state. The information compiled at the sessions, involving community leaders and stakeholders, will form the basis of ISU Extension's programming as it relates to the emerging Iowa bioeconomy. See story.

Research institute forecasts decline in bioenergy profit margins

Despite high crude oil prices and various policy incentives, profit margins in bioenergy are expected to deteriorate according to the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute's 2007 agricultural outlook. See story.

Iowa State program examines the next phase in biofuels

Iowa State University and ISU Extension recently offered a program that explored the economics of liquid fuels produced by plant sources other than corn, the overall market for biofuels and what it will take for the United States to significantly reduce its consumption of fossil fuels. See slides from the presentations.

Conference to explore the bioeconomy's effects on Iowa's water

Iowa's emerging bioenergy industry will impact local and regional water resources. Significant changes in agricultural systems, management practices and water demands have the potential to positively and negatively affect surface and ground water. Those interested in these issues are invited to the 2007 Iowa Water Conference "Water and Bioenergy" on March 6 at the Scheman Building on the Iowa State University campus. See story.

College of Agriculture discusses biorenewables

More than 100 faculty and staff recently participated in a College of Agriculture Briefing and Discussion on Biorenewable Resources. See and hear what they said.

Iowa State economists offer ethanol perspectives

A recent webcast featured seven Iowa State University economists presenting information about the corn-based ethanol industry. They said the rapidly growing industry will see some changes. See the economists' papers and power point presentations.

Regents back ISU's bio future

Iowa State's quest to be a major player in the development of biofuels received a pledge of support from the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, during its Nov. 8 meeting. See story.

Staying the course

Despite all the hoopla surrounding bioenergy, there are many detractors who would like to put the matter to rest. See essay by Stephen Howell.

Iowa State center to study impacts of energy production from agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided $275,000 in research funding to the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University to provide estimates of the impact on farmers, consumers and international trade from increased energy production from agriculture. See story.

Federal energy initiative supports Iowa State research on effects of ethanol expansion

Researchers at Iowa State University will evaluate the costs and benefits of ethanol expansion to rural communities in the Upper Mississippi River Basin as part of a $676,722 biofuels research grant. See story.

ISU study determines regional economic values of ethanol production in Iowa

ISU economists David Swenson and Liesl Eathington authored a research paper titled "Determining the Regional Economic Values of Ethanol Production in Iowa Considering Different Levels of Local Investment." It found that with no local ownership, a new ethanol plant would either create directly or otherwise stimulate a total of 133 jobs in the regional economy -- with 29 more jobs being created for every 25-percent increase in local ownership of those plants. See story.


Chemically squeezing every drop of ethanol from corn

Brent Shanks works in his Iowa State University laboratory to create chemical catalysts that would increase the yield of fermentable sugars from corn. That could boost ethanol production by 10 to 15 percent. See story.