It was somewhat of a surprise when we heard the little state of Iowa was recently highlighted as leading the nation in terms of percentage of electricity generated from wind power. Now we come to find out the Hawkeye State, according to its own figures, “is rapidly becoming the development capital of the nation for the replacement of petroleum-based chemicals with bio-based chemicals.” Makes sense, especially when you consider it is home of the largest supply of corn and soybeans in the country.
Iowa, tooting its own horn as it looks to draw more renewable energy businesses to its boundaries, said its advances in the biofuels sector have added more than $11.5 billion to state coffers. This is on top of generating $2.3 billion in new household income and creating or supporting 70,000 jobs. Iowa is apparently especially active in ethanol and biodiesel development. It apparently ranks first in the nation in production of the former, while in the latter it ranks second.
The state says it is producing currently 318 million gallons of biodiesel – up from 50,000 gallons in 1999 – which is more than 11 percent of the total U.S. biodiesel production. It also has a number of biosciences companies with in-state operations, and its Center for Bio Renewable Chemicals at Iowa State University recently received an $18.5 million, five-year award from the National Science Foundation to “transform the chemical industry using biorenewable systems and resources such as bio-based polymers.”
“Iowa has a long history of excellence in renewable fuels, and our state’s companies and research institutions are leading the charge to develop next generation cellulosic biofuels that will drive the economy of the future and meet America’s demand for clean energy,” said Bret Mills, director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED), in a statement.