Biodiesel Awareness - Educational Programs

Ray Hansen, P&S, Value Added Agriculture


Prior to the recent signing of the Renewable Fuels Standard, interest in expanding the biodiesel industry in Iowa was reaching a feverish pitch. Numerous individuals and groups from around the state were seeking information about the potential and opportunities for building biodiesel plants. Most potential investors looked at the recent success of ethanol and believed that biodiesel presented the same opportunities and seemed anxious to be one of the first entities to get the next plant up and running.

To provide accurate information about the current production capacity and potential demand for biodiesel production in Iowa.

ISU Extension staff from the Value-added Agriculture programs provided and participated in numerous activities and events to help provide factual information about the current biodiesel industry. ISU-VAAP help host two state-wide information meeting to provide biodiesel industry overviews. Both meeting were held at the Iowa Farm Bureau in conjunction with IFB, IDED, IDALS, USDA and the Iowa Soybean Association. Both meetings had over 200 attendees. Additionally the ISU staff met with at least eight local farmer/community groups to discuss the potential for biodiesel production in there communities. These meetings also outlined the due-diligence needed to develop potential projects. Several of these groups requested bids for doing feasibility studies for their proposed projects. One feasibility study was conducts as a result. Numerous emails and phone inquiries have also been answered to supplement the on-going information distribution efforts.

Over 500 producers/investors have been provided with current and relevant information regarding biodiesel potential in Iowa. Outcomes will continue to be measured over the next 1-2 years as many of the groups assisted are still in the planning and evaluation stages and have not yet made a determination as to proceeding. Currently one plant is under construction and at least a dozen groups are still in evaluation stages. Equally as important, a similar number of individuals/groups have opted not to pursue projects based on the information provided.

121 - Adding Value and Enhancing Agricultural Products

Page last updated: July 9, 2006
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