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Taking the lead in biorenewables

Ted Heindel

Iowa State researchers helping to take the natural gas out of ethanol production

Iowa State University engineers are working with an Ames company to develop a renewable and cost effective alternative to the natural gas burned by most ethanol plants. The project is partially supported by the Grow Iowa Values Fund, a state economic development program. See story.

Ultrasonics boosts release rates of corn sugars for ethanol production

A team of Iowa State researchers has used ultrasonic pretreatment of corn in laboratory experiments to increase the corn's release rates of sugars by nearly 30 percent. That could mean each bushel of corn that goes into an ethanol plant could more efficiently produce ethanol for your car's fuel tank. See story.

ISU's Robert C. Brown to Senate committee: The bioeconomy is bigger than biofuels

Robert C. Brown

Iowa State's Robert C. Brown addressed the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry in April 2006 and suggested four goals for the country's bioeconomy:

  • Reduce America's reliance on imported oil.
  • Improve environmental quality.
  • Expand the markets for U.S. agricultural products.
  • Improve the economy of rural America.
See text.

Iowa State researchers convert farm waste to bio-oil

Iowa State researchers are converting manure and corn stalks into a bio-oil that can be burned as fuel. They'll experiment with the process on a Story County hog farm beginning this fall. See story.

Victor Lin

Finding a better way to make biodiesel

Iowa State scientists are using chemistry and nanotechnology to create a better way to make biodiesel. See story.

Iowa State scientists study alternative crops for fuel production

Crops not routinely found on Iowa farms -- switchgrass, Indiangrass, big bluestem, eastern gamagrass, sweet sorghum, triticale, kenaf -- fill several research plots on an Iowa State University farm west of Ames. The goal is to provide realistic alternatives for Iowa producers while developing uses for the new crops. For instance, emerging markets for liquid fuels and other industrial products made from crop biomass offer opportunities. See story.

Center establishes biorenewables policy division

The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University is launching a new Biorenewables Policy Division. The division will focus on policy questions surrounding expansion of biorenewables in the United States and the shifting playing field this creates for midwestern producers. See story.

Iowa State corn/soy plastics to be made into hog feeders

Richard Larock

Richard Larock, a University Professor of chemistry at Iowa State University, is developing plastics made from corn and soybean oils that will be used to build hog feeders. Larock has invented and patented a process for producing various bioplastics from inexpensive natural oils, which make up 40 percent to 80 percent of the plastics. The feeders could be on the market by the end of next year. 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.

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.

Turning corn fiber into ethanol

Iowa State University researchers have used mold to convert corn fiber into ethanol. The discovery could turn byproducts of corn milling into another source of fuel. See story.

Hans and Jacek

Iowa State researchers explore turning fuel ethanol into beverage alcohol

Iowa State University researchers are using two purification technologies and sophisticated chemical analysis to develop a quick and inexpensive process for turning fuel ethanol into food-grade alcohol suitable for beverages, cough medicines, mouth washes and other uses. See story.

Iowa Farm Bureau Commits $1 Million to Iowa State's Bioeconomy Program

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation's gift will be used to provide support for the Office of Biorenewables Programs, including additional faculty and staff salaries and new collaborations in research, educational and outreach activities.See story.

Cargill commits $600,000 to Iowa State's bioeconomy program

Cargill's grant of $600,000 to Iowa State's Bioeconomy Initiative will make four new components possible:

  • Freshmen Experiences in Biorenewables
  • Common Laboratory in Biobased Technologies
  • Course Work in Biobased Technologies
  • International Experiences in Biorenewables
See story.

Promoting biorenewables is new job for Iowa State agronomy professor

Soaring gas prices have everyone talking about alternative energy options. Iowa State University's Steven Fales is just like everyone else - he doesn't enjoy paying more at the pump. But he does enjoy the increased focus on using agricultural crops to reduce oil consumption. See story.

Iowa State faculty lead bioenergy discussion at national energy conference

Iowa State University faculty led a session at a national conference on energy for a sustainable and secure future. See story.

Turning tallgrass to fuel grass

Robert C. Brown: "Our nation was originally a bioeconomy before switching to a petroleum economy. I see good reasons to move back." See story.