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Annette Hacker, manager, (515) 294-3720

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Debra Gibson, News Service, (515) 294-4917

Annette Hacker, News Service, (515) 294-3720

Iowa State University sources on effects of rising gasoline prices and alternative energies

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University faculty and staff experts are available to provide insightful commentary on the societal and economic effects of rising gasoline prices, as well as the production, policies and profitability of alternative energy sources. Experts are listed by topics:

Effects of rising gasoline prices on consumer behavior

Kay Palan, associate professor of marketing, College of Business. Palan studies consumer socialization and family decision-making. She can discuss how consumers' spending habits of both budgeted and discretionary income may be affected by rising energy costs. Palan also will explain how consumers view gasoline and energy in their family lives and how they may alter spending habits in light of price hikes. She teaches undergraduate and graduate classes on consumer behavior and strategic marketing.

Effects of rising gasoline prices on the trucking industry

Michael Crum, professor of transportation and logistics, College of Business. Crum researches freight transportation management, supply chain management, carrier management and truck driver issues. He can explain how rising fuel prices are affecting the trucking/transportation industries, and how those impacts will be felt by consumers at the cash register. Crum has consulted extensively with organizations such as the American Trucking Association, Barr-Nunn Transportation, C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. and CSX Transportation. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in carrier management, transportation economics, business logistics and supply chain management.

Note: Crum is unavailable for interviews May 31-June 4.

Overview of renewable energy sources

Bill Haman, industrial program manager and alternate energy revolving loan program manager, Iowa Energy Center. Haman will discuss wind energy and solar energy alternatives. He'll also provide information on the Alternate Energy Revolving Loan Program, created by the Iowa Legislature in 1996 to promote the development of renewable energy production facilities in the state. These funds support a balanced mix of technologies -- solar, biomass, small hydro, and small and large wind turbine facilities.

Norman Olson, manager, Biomass Energy Conversion Center (BECON), Iowa Energy Center. Olson will speak about how the facility provides research information on biomass technologies to create fuels and chemicals, as well as demonstrations of pilot-scale biomass conversion systems.

Jon Van Gerpen, professor and associate chair, mechanical engineering, College of Engineering. Van Gerpen will discuss the production of biodiesel, an alternative diesel fuel for diesel engines. The fuel is produced by chemically reacting a vegetable oil or animal fat with an alcohol. Van Gerpen served as interim chairperson of the ISU mechanical engineering department in 2002-03, and has been a faculty member for 20 years. According to Van Gerpen, "Iowa State is poised to become one of the nation's leading institutions working in the commercial development of biodiesel fuels."

Note: Van Gerpen is unavailable for interviews June 7-11.

Assessment of the technoligical, economic and environmental impacts of producing power, fuels and chemicals from biomass

Rob Anex, associate professor, agricultural and biosystems engineering, Colleges of Agriculture and Engineering. Anex will discuss how the development of biobased products and alternative fuels affect the economy, the environment and the sustainability of agriculture. He also will talk about the life cycle assessment he created to evaluate these products "cradle to grave." Anex recently served as guest editor for a special issue of the Journal of Industrial Ecology. This issue was devoted to examining the environmental implications -- good and bad -- of the increased use of bio-based materials and fuels, including biopolymers, bioethanol, biodiesel and bulk commodity chemicals and intermediates derived from biomass.

Dan Otto, professor of economics, College of Agriculture. Otto has conducted a recent study that shows Iowa's total production capacity for ethanol soon will reach 975 million gallons per year. Annual product sales will be worth $1.79 billion. Iowa's existing ethanol industry currently generates $363.3 million in economic activity for local communities. About 3,400 direct and indirect jobs have been created at existing ethanol plants; more mills under construction will add another 830 jobs. While the ethanol industry currently buys 275 million bushels of corn from Iowa producers each year, the addition of the new plants will increase that to 361 million bushels annually.

Of note

A recent study shows Iowa's total production capacity for ethanol soon will reach 975 million gallons per year. Annual product sales will be worth $1.79 billion.

-- Study by Dan Otto