Muscatine Journal, IA 10-31-06 ISU president: Let's make Iowa a bio-fuel leader:

Muscatine Journal, IA
ISU president: Let's make Iowa a bio-fuel leader:
By Cynthia Beaudette of the Muscatine Journal
MUSCATINE, Iowa — Could Iowa become the world center for renewable fuels
and bio-based products?
During a Monday luncheon meeting at the Holiday Inn, Iowa State University
President Gregory Geoffroy told Muscatine Rotary members it’s possible.
“We’re going to do for cellulose, what George Washington Carver did for the
peanut,” said Geoffroy, referring to one of ISU’s most successful graduates and
faculty members. “Iowa is in for lots of big changes.”
Geoffroy, 60, president of ISU since 2001, told Rotary members that fossil fuels
are not an infinite source of energy, however, plants, which derive their energy
from the sun, can be grown each year.
Geoffroy also said development of bio-fuels will reduce the nation’s dependence
on foreign oil and strengthen Iowa’s economy.
During the 2001-02 academic year, Geoffroy invited ISU faculty members to
propose programs that would enhance scholarships at ISU. The BioEconomy
Initiative was one of six selected from the 26 ideas submitted.
The primary goal of the initiative is to develop technologies for converting crops
and plant materials into chemicals, fuels, fibers and energy.
Not only are ISU researchers interested in the bio-fuels produced from corn
kernels, Geoffroy said those scientists are researching the use of other parts of
the corn plant and different types of tall grasses.
“The big breakthrough, when it occurs, is developing efficient processes for
converting plant fiber, which is what we call cellulosic fiber mass, into ethanol
and bio-fuels,” said Geoffroy before the Rotary meeting.
ISU researchers are also developing technology that is needed to produce these
fuels, Geoffroy said.
After the meeting, Tom Savage, owner of Books and More bookstore in
downtown Muscatine, remarked on the fact that bio-fuels can be found in one of
Iowa’s most abundant resources.
“I find it ironic that when Euro-Americans first arrived in this state, the grass was
so high they could get lost in it.” he said. “Now we’re going back to it.”
Geoffroy was last in Muscatine in 2003.
John McCarroll, executive director of University Relations for ISU, said Geoffroy
tries to get back to the area every three to four years, as he visits cities
throughout the state. Geoffroy’s visits are intended to rekindle relationships with
alumni and provide information on ISU’s programs and projects for area
residents and students.
Contact Cynthia Beaudette at 563-263-2331 ext. 323 or
[email protected]