Iowa Governor Signs Renewable Chemical Tax Credit Bill

Iowa Govenor Terry Branstad has signed a tax credit bill aimed at accelerating development of biorenewable chemicals in the state of Iowa. In attendance at the signing were Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Economic Development Authority director Debi Durham, and several Iowa legislators. The event took place in Sukup Atrium in Iowa State University’s Biorenewables Complex.

[PHOTO]Governor Branstad signs tax credit biillIowa Governor Terry Branstad (sitting) signs a tax credit bill aimed at growing the state’s commercial biorenewable enterprises.

In March, the bill passed the Iowa Senate with a vote of 46-3 and the Iowa House by a count of 95-1. The credit will create an income tax credit equal to 5¢ per pound of qualified chemicals produced. It allows new businesses (those operating less than five years) up to $1 million, while existing businesses can receive $500,000. The credit is limited to $10 million per fiscal year in total awards.

Whitepaper Outlines Biorenewables Opportunities

A whitepaper, “Biobased Chemicals: The Iowa Opportunity,” helped inform Iowa’s leaders on how statewide economic development incentives could address the unique needs of the budding industry. It showed how Iowa could emerge as a leader in biorenewable chemical investment and job creation in coming years.

The report, released by Iowa’s Cultivation Corridor and the Iowa Biotechnology Association, was written by Jill Euken, deputy director of the Bioeconomy Institute; Dermot Hayes, a professor of economics; and Brent Shanks, director of the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC) and a Distinguished Professor of chemical and biological engineering.

“We’re pleased our report helped state leaders see the importance of tax credits as a way to incent growth of new commercial biorenewable enterprises,” Euken said. “It is part of our land-grant mission to conduct research that helps inform public policy.”

New Proposal Manager Focused on Service

[PHOTO]Kristin DoerderInterest and certification in research administration has led Kristin Doerder to the Bioeconomy Institute, where she was named proposal manager in December 2015. “Full proposal preparation is new to me but it’s one of the reasons I was attracted to the position,” Doerder says.

Doerder provides pre-award service and proposal preparation assistance for BEI faculty, staff, and affiliates. She has already submitted several grant proposals in her short time at BEI.

With a degree in accounting from Iowa State University, Doerder has spent her career here as well. She has had stints with the departments of genetics, development, and cell biology and English, working as an accountant and also assisting with grants and proposals. She then moved on to College of Liberal Arts, where she worked on research projects and grants. More recently, she was with the Iowa Soybean Research Center, helping the new center get established when it began in 2014.

Interdisciplinary Research Proposals

In 2015, Doerder passed the Certified Research Administrators exam to earn CRA certification. The Research Administrators Certification Council administers the program, which provides formal recognition of basic knowledge in the field.

Doerder says the proposal manager position combines her accounting background and ability to build budgets with her project management skills. “I enjoy working with our fantastic faculty and interdisciplinary teams,” she says, adding that she is working to get up to speed on the wide-ranging BEI-affiliated faculty.

Indeed, many BEI proposals are complex and require collaboration of a number of researchers. For instance, Doerder is currently working on a proposal that requires three or more disciplines and will involve contributors from outside Iowa State.

BEI business manager Becky Staedtler says BEI is happy to have Doerder on its team. “Kristin has not only an accounting background, but years of experience dealing with different aspects of proposal submissions at ISU,” she says. “The proposal manager at BEI is critical because without proposals, there are no awards, and without funding, it would be impossible to achieve our mission.”

Doerder adds, “All proposals are unique. I like the variety of work, the challenge of working with different funding agencies, and the reward of obtaining new funding for Iowa State.”

Doerder’s office is in 1140B Biorenewables Research Laboratory. She can be reached at, 515-294-6711.


Brown Moves Up Bioeconomy 100 Listing

[PHOTO]Robert C. BrownRobert C. Brown, director of the Bioeconomy Institute at Iowa State University, moved up to number 57 on the  “Top 100 People in the Advanced Bioeconomy 2016,” nominated and voted by the readers of the Biofuels Digest and the publication’s editorial board. Brown was number 70 in the 2015 version of the poll. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack heads the list again this year.

See the article “The Top 100 People in the Advanced Bioeconomy 2016” at the Biofuels Digest’s Website.

Brown Appointed to Iowa Energy Plan Working Group

[PHOTO]Robert C. BrownBEI director Robert C. Brown has been appointed to the “Iowa’s Energy Resources” working group for the Iowa Energy Plan.  The plan aims to set state priorities and provide strategic guidance for decision-making while working to encourage energy, economic, and environmental benefits. It’s a joint initiative between the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Dept. of Transportation.

The plan will include an assessment of current and future energy supply and demand, examine existing energy policies and programs, and identify emerging energy challenges and opportunities.The plan has a tentative delivery date of November 2016.

Brown is one of 48 people selected for the working groups, and the only representative from a four-year university or college. The other groups will examine economic development and energy careers, transportation and infrastructure, and energy efficiency and conservation.

For more information, visit the Iowa Energy Plan Website.

Report Finds Iowa Well Positioned for Biorenewable Chemicals

[COVER IMAGE]Biobased Chemicals: The Iowa OpportunityA new white paper has found that Iowa is better positioned than many domestic competitors to capitalize on the next frontier of bioprocessing in the United States. The report, titled “Biobased Chemicals: The Iowa Opportunity,” was released by Iowa’s Cultivation Corridor and the Iowa Biotechnology Association.

The authors are Jill Euken, BEI deputy director; Dermot Hayes, a professor of economics at Iowa State University; and Brent Shanks, director of the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC) and a Distinguished Professor of chemical and biological engineering.

The report details how statewide economic development incentives can address the unique needs of the budding industry and allow Iowa to emerge as a leader in biorenewable chemical investment and job creation in coming years. The findings of the report were released at a news conference at the Iowa State Capitol on Jan. 14, 2016. Among it’s findings:

  • First generation biofuels have been important economic drivers for the state of Iowa. Ethanol production alone in Iowa accounts for $2.23 billion per year in state GDP and supports more than 8,693 jobs.
  • At least five potential bio-based chemical production projects were identified through an industry interview process as part of the report. Representatives of each project indicated a biorenewable chemical production tax credit would be fundamental to the ultimate location decision in or outside Iowa.
  • The U.S. market for chemicals is more than $250 billion per year.
  • More than 50,000 jobs in bio-based chemicals and materials are projected to be created in the United States by 2020.
  • Using income tax data, the payback period on the $61.7 million the state invested in the ethanol industry was just two years.

To view the full report and the executive summary, visit

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