Ag Energy Webinars

Eastern Iowa Community Colleges and Iowa State University are hosting a series of FREE webinars on integrating the latest research on energy into the classroom. The 60-minute webinars for high school and community college faculty will present the research, free curriculum, and a hands-on activity. The spring webinars will be held from 4:30 to 5:30 pm EDT on February 17, March 12, and April 28, 2014. This project is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture. Award No. 2012-38414-19559



Evolution of Corn and Ethanol and Co-Product Processing- Towards a More Sustainable Industry

Speaker: Dr. Kurt Rosentrater, Assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University.

Date: Wednesday April 28th, 2014 Time: 3:30-4:30 central time

Biography:  Dr. Kurt Rosentrater is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, and Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University.  He is actively pursuing a research program to improve the sustainability of food and agricultural-based systems.  He is developing sustainable, economical materials and products, such as enhanced foods, feeds, biofuels, bioplastics, biocomposites, industrial intermediates, and ingredients.

His expertise is in value-added product development, alternative recycling and reprocessing strategies for waste streams, improvements in processing efficiencies, life cycle assessment, techno-economic analysis, modeling and simulation of processing systems, plant layout, and process design.


Prior to his work at Iowa State, he was a Lead Scientist with the United States Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service in Brookings, SD.  His research program focused on improving the value and use of corn-based distillers grains, a co-product from fuel ethanol manufacturing.  Previously, he was an assistant professor at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL, in the Department of Engineering and Industrial Technology, where he taught in the areas of research methods, manufacturing systems, engineering mechanics, and design.  Before this, he worked for a design-build engineering contractor in Iowa, and was responsible for process and equipment design, as well as plant and site layout for agri-industrial manufacturing facilities, including grain elevators, feed mills, flour mills, and pet food processing plants.


He attended Iowa State University where he received his BS, MS, and PhD in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering.  He is a member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, the American Association of Cereal Chemists, the Institute of Food Technologists, the American Society for Engineering Education, the American Physical Society, and Sigma Xi Honorary Research Society.


Extreme Weather and Climate Change Now and Future Trends

Speaker: Dr. Christopher Anderson, Assistant Director of Climate Science Program, Iowa State UniversityTitle: Extreme Weather and Climate Change Now and Future Trends

Date: Wednesday March 12th, 2014 Time: 3:30-4:30 central time

Biography:  Christopher J. Anderson, PhD is a climate risk analyst.
He is Assistant Director of the Iowa State University Climate Science Initiative, a research program that provides authoritative, scientific information for short-term and long-term climate-informed decision-making. He holds doctoral and master degrees in agricultural meteorology from Iowa State University.
Mr. Anderson’s research examines linkages between climate variability, climate change, and water management. He has coauthored recent reports for the Western Utility Climate Alliance and US EPA containing recommendations on investments in climate modeling that would yield improvements in infrastructure planning for water utilities in major metropolitan areas (Options for Improving Climate Modeling to Assist Water Utility Planning for Climate Change) and flood mitigation in the Midwest United States (Iowa Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Report). Currently, he is providing leadership to the Federal Highways Climate Resilience Pilot in Iowa in collaboration with Iowa DOT and University of Iowa IIHR.

Sustainable Integrated Bioenergy-Agronomic Systems

Speaker: Dr. David Laird, Professor, Agronomy, Iowa State University
Title: Sustainable Integrated Bioenergy-Agronomic Systems
Date: Wednesday February 17th, 2014  Time: 3:30-4:30 central time

Biography:  David A. Laird received his PhD degree in Agronomy from Iowa State University in 1987. He joined the USDA-ARS as a research scientist in 1988 spending three years with the Soil and Water Management Unit in St. Paul Minnesota before joining the staff of the National Soil Tilth Laboratory in Ames Iowa in 1991 where he served as both a research scientist and a lead scientist. Dr. Laird accepted a position as a professor in the Department of Agronomy at Iowa State University in 2010. Over the years he has served as Associate editor for both Soil Science Society of America Journal and Clays and Clay Minerals, was special publications editor for the Clay Minerals Society, Chair of the soil chemistry division of the Soil Science Society of America, and both president and vice-president of the Clay Minerals Society. Dr. Laird is a Fellow in both the American Society of Agronomy and the Soil Science Society of America. He has won numerous awards for his research and service contributions.
Dr. Laird is the author or co-author of 87 refereed journal articles, 12 book chapters and has helped edited one book and special editions of both the Journal of Environmental Quality and Applied Clay Science. His research articles have been cited over 5000 times by his peers and he has an h-index of 37 on Google Scholar. Research interests include the use of the biochar co-products of biomass pyrolysis as a soil amendment and its impact on soil quality, nutrient leaching, and carbon sequestration. Other research interests include the chemical, mineralogical, and surface properties of soil clays, interactions of pesticides and other organic compounds with clays, the nature of soil humic substances, clay-humic interactions, and the development of field-mobile near infrared diffuse reflectance spectroscopy for mapping soil organic carbon and other properties.

Dedicated Energy Crops: What, Why and Where?

Speaker: Dr. Emily Heaton, Assistant Professor, Agronomy, Iowa State University
Title: Dedicated Energy Crops: What, Why and Where?
Date: Wednesday November 12, 2013 Time: 3:30-4:30 central time

Biography:  Dr. Heaton is an Assistant Professor of Agronomy at Iowa State University ( Her group, the Biomass Crop Production and Physiology Lab, aims to understand the growth and productivity of dedicated biomass crops in the Midwest, and how they can be managed to provide multiple ecosystem services. They specifically seek to elucidate the reciprocal impact of environment on key physiological processes like photosynthesis, biomass accumulation, water use and nutrient cycling. Typical activities focus on the plant and field plot scale, with inferences at the watershed and ecosystem scale. Through collaboration, they use their own data to explain observed phenomena and predict future behavior, with an ultimate goal of providing useful information to policy and the public about the role biomass crops can and should play in the Midwestern USA. She remains involved with her family farm (, which employs diverse agricultural activities ranging from heritage poultry grazing to biomass crop production for sustainable and profitable land management.

Why are we developing advanced biofuels?

Speaker: Robert Brown, Director, Bio-Economy Institute, and Anson Marston Distinguished Professor of Engineering. Title: Why are we developing advanced biofuels?

Date: Wednesday October 10, 2013 Time: 3:30-4:30 central time

Biography: Dr. Robert Brown is Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering and Gary and Donna Hoover Chair in Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University (ISU). Dr. Brown is the founding director of ISU’s Bio-Economy Institute (BEI), which coordinates ISU’s research, educational, and outreach activities related to bio-based products and bioenergy. Dr. Brown is also the director of the Center for Sustainable Environmental Technologies, a center within ISU’s Institute for Physical Research and Technology that conducts multi-disciplinary, multi-investigator research into thermochemical conversion of biomass. In addition to his journal publications, Dr. Brown has written three books including Why Are We Producing Biofuels, which received the Book of the Year Award from Biofuels Digest in 2012. He has been annually recognized as one of the “Top 100 People” in bioenergy by Biofuels Digest since 2010.

Biofuel Policy. What is it and what impact does it have?

Speaker: Dermot Hayes, Professor of Economics, and Professor of Finance at Iowa State University.
Title: Biofuel Policy. What is it and what impact does it have?
Date: Wednesday September 30, 2013 Time: 3:30-4:30 central time

Biography: Dermot Hayes is the Pioneer Hi-Bred International Chair in Agribusiness, professor of economics, and professor of finance at Iowa State University. He is co-director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at Iowa State. He has distinguished himself with many awards at the college and university levels for his work as a teacher and researcher. In 2006 he received a “Publication of Enduring Quality” award from the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. AAEA named him a Fellow in 2007, its highest recognition for distinction in the discipline. Besides his analysis of U.S. farm policy and international agricultural trade, his other research interests include food safety, livestock modeling, demand analysis, and commodity markets. Since 1995 he has been a consulting trade economist for the National Pork Producers Association.

Wind Power: An Attractive Source of Energy for Iowa and the U.S.

Speaker: Dr. Eugene Takle, Professor of Atmospheric Science and Agricultural Meteorology, Iowa State University

Title: Wind Power: An Attractive Source of Energy for Iowa and the U.S.

Date: Wednesday February 20th Time: 3:30-4:30 central time

Biography: Eugene has a BA degree in physics and math from Luther College and PhD from the Iowa State University Department of Physics. He joined the ISU faculty in 1971 in the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences and the Department of Agronomy. He is director of the Climate Science Program at Iowa State University that currently is centrally involved in developing future scenarios of regional climate change and impacts for the US. He also serves on numerous national and international boards and committees, including Atmospheric Science Editor of Earth Science Reviews, Associate Editor of Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, and Coordinating Lead Co-author on the agriculture chapter of the National Climate Assessment. He has over 200 publications and research presentations on topics such as climate change, turbulent flow through agricultural shelterbelts, and wind energy. He is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

Metabolic Engineering of Microbes for the Production of Biorenewable Fuels and Chemicals

Speaker: Dr. Laura Jarboe, Iowa State University Assistant Professor in Chemical and Biological Engineering
Title: Metabolic Engineering of Microbes for the Production of Biorenewable Fuels and Chemicals

Date: Thursday March 28th Time: 3:30-4:30 central time

Biography: Dr. Jarboe has a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Kentucky and Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. She joined the ISU faculty in 2008 as a Chemical and Biological Engineering assistant professor. She is a member of the Toxicology Interdepartmental Program and is as member of the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Program at Iowa State University. She has published several publications on topics such as molecular and biochemical reactions. She has previously been invited to speak at several conferences on topics that include biocatalyst engineering and chemical production opportunities and challenges. She is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Society for Industrial Microbiology, American Chemical Society and the Iowa Academy of Sciences.

Building Science

Speaker: Ulrike Passe, Dipl.-Ing. Assistant Professor of Architecture Iowa State University, Director of the Center for Building Energy Research
Title: Building Science Date: April 23rd Time: 3:30-4:30 central time

Biography: Ulrike Passe is Assistant Professor of Architecture at Iowa State University since 2007 and Director of their Center for Building Energy Research since 2008. Ulrike studied architecture at the Technical University Berlin in Germany and at the Bartlett School of Architecture, London in the UK. She is a licensed architect in Germany since 1993, a founding partner of Passe and Kaelber Architects, recipient of the 1998 Bund Deutscher Architekten Young Architect’s Award (Hans Schaefers Prize). She was elected into the Bund Deutscher Architekten in 2005. Before joining Iowa State University Ulrike was also academic faculty at the Technical University Berlin and the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. Ulrike’s particular research interest lies in the relationship of architectural space, energy transfer and natural air movement. Her work has been funded by the Boston Society of Architects and the Iowa Energy Center. She led Iowa State’s 2009 Solar Decathlon team funded partially by the US Department of Energy and now leads the building science plank in the Iowa NSF EPSCoR project: Harnessing Energies from the Biosphere, which develops the Interlock House and high schools into community labs for energy efficiency research. Ulrike Passe received the College of Design faculty award for excellence in 2009, the Iowa State University Alumni Association Impact Award in 2010 and recently a United States Green Building Council scholarship to attend Greenbuild 2012 in San Francisco for her work with the Center for Green School’s Research to Practice (R2P2) Program. Ulrike has published her work in internationally recognized peer-reviewed journals like ARQ (Architectural Research Quarterly) and Building Simulation Journal and lectured at various international academic conferences and workshops.

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