Every year the Iowa Energy Center selects four leaders in energy research and innovation, one for each of our main focus areas: bioenergy, education and outreach, energy efficiency and renewable energy. Two of the 2015 winners are members of Iowa State’s College of Engineering faculty. This year’s winners spoke at the Iowa Energy Summit on Wednesday, November 4 at the Prairie Meadows Conference & Event Center in Altoona, IA.
Dr. Laura Jarboe, professor of Chemical Engineering at Iowa State University, and a BCB Faculty member, is conducting research that focuses on making fuels from biomass. Currently, petroleum is used to make commodity chemicals. Everything from the desk in your office to the plastic on your phone is probably petroleum-based. Jarboe wants to change that. She takes microbial biocatalysts, such as yeast fermentation, engineers the microbes that change their genetics, and uses them to make ethanol into butanol, a more efficient fuel. In other words, Dr. Jarboe is researching how we can make plants into better fuels.
This story was originally published by Abbie Latterell on Nov. 23 with the Iowa Energy Center. Caroline Arkesteyn provided the above copy.