2018 Year in Review

December 30, 2018

CCUR 2018 Year in Review

It's nearing the end of 2018, and the Center for Crops Utilization Research (CCUR) is taking a look back at our favorite highlights of the year.


Bill Colonna, CCUR assistant scientist, gives a demonstration on how to use the 5-L benchtop fermentor during the fermentation and bioprocessing tour.
Bill Colonna, CCUR assistant scientist, gives a demonstration on how to use the 5-L benchtop fermentor during the fermentation and bioprocessing tour.

January

CCUR and CIRAS Host Tour of Fermentation and Bioprocessing Labs 

CCUR and the Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) hosted a tour on how to use Iowa State University experts and capabilities in fermentation and bioprocessing labs on Jan. 9. Participants toured CCUR's Fermentation Facility and the BioCentury Research Farm's (BCRF) Biochemical Processing Train. Thirty-two people from 14 Iowa companies attended the event.

CCUR and BCRF Complete Center Review 

The Center for Crops Utilization Research (CCUR) and the BioCentury Research Farm (BCRF) completed a two-day review on Jan. 11-12. A center review is required every seven years by the Iowa Board of Regents to help ensure that each university center or institute is still relevant and consistent with the university's mission and strategic plan. 

The external review team spent two days at CCUR and BCRF familiarizing themselves with the center's organization, operations, services and finances. They also met with university administration, affiliated faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, industry partners and advisory council members to learn more about how they interact with CCUR and BCRF. The review team gave a brief overview of their findings and recommendations to university administration and CCUR and BCRF staff. A final report was provided to the center and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Administration.


Martin Gross of Gross-Wen Technologies at the America's Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) fourth annual 2018 Client Showcase and Reception.

Martin Gross of Gross-Wen Technologies at the America's Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) fourth annual 2018 Client Showcase and Reception.

February

Gross-Wen Technologies Featured at America's SBDCs Showcase in the Nation's 

Capital Gross-Wen Technologies was one of 11 SBDC clients from across the country showcased during America's Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) fourth annual 2018 Client Showcase and Reception on Feb. 13 on Capitol Hill. SBDC leaders, congress members, advisors, clients, partners and stakeholders gathered for the event to celebrate the SBDC's work and learn more about the featured clients’ products, services and success working with their local SBDC. GWT is part of CCUR and BCRF's industry incubator programs.

Darren Jarboe Leaves CCUR

Darren Jarboe stepped down as CCUR's program manager and joined the faculty at the University of Maryland at College Park. Darren joined the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative, a CCUR program, in 1996 and moved to CCUR in 2004. His last day at Iowa State was Feb. 14. 

Peggy Best Retires after 34 Years at Iowa State 

Peggy Best, CCUR and BCRF administrative specialist, retired after 34 of service to Iowa State. Before joining CCUR in 2008, Peggy had been employed with several other units across campus including the Department of Chemistry, Department of Animal Science, Dean of Students Office, Provost Office, Department of Public Safety and Ames Laboratory. Her last day at Iowa State was Feb. 28.


Hui Wang  received the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Professional and Scientific Research Award for his work as the pilot plant manager at the Iowa State University Center for Crops Utilization Research. Photo by Christopher Gannon.
Hui Wang  received the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Professional and Scientific Research Award for his work as the pilot plant manager at the Iowa State University Center for Crops Utilization Research. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

March

Hui Wang Receives Professional and Scientific Research Award 

Hui Wang received the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Professional and Scientific Research Award for his work as the pilot plant manager at CCUR. The award was presented to him on March 8 at the Spring Semester Convocation and Awards Program.

Iowa State University Report Shows Future Promise for Cedar Rapids’ Processing Industries 

Iowa State, in cooperation with the City of Cedar Rapids, released a report on March 28 identifying new, emerging technologies that could be a starting point for increased economic activity, jobs and start-up companies in the city’s agricultural and bioprocessing industries. The report is an outcome of a partnership begun in 2015 between Iowa State and Cedar Rapids to explore opportunities for expanding the success of the region’s industries. Kevin Keener, former CCUR director, co-authored the report with John Stanford, a research associate with the Bioeconomy Institute at Iowa State.


CCUR and BCRF hosted a poster competition April 3 for Iowa State University undergraduate and graduate students engaged in food, feed and biorenewables research.
CCUR and BCRF hosted a poster competition April 3 for Iowa State University undergraduate and graduate students engaged in food, feed and biorenewables research. 

April

Poster Competition Highlights Research on Food, Feed and Biorenewables 

CCUR and BCRF hosted a poster competition on April 3 for Iowa State University undergraduate and graduate students engaged in food, feed and biorenewables research. Sixteen posters were entered, and awards were given to the top three undergraduate student posters and the top three graduate student posters. Faculty, staff and students judged the posters based on the overall organization of the poster, significance of the research, quality of text and visuals and quality of the verbal explanation.

 

 

 


May

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig speaking at the anniversary of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig speaking at the anniversary of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

Iowa Leaders Celebrate Fifth Anniversary of Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy at the BCRF

Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, along with a broad cross section of Iowa political, agricultural and community leaders, celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy at the BCRF on May 29. The Strategy is a science and technology-based framework to assess and reduce nutrient loss from both point sources (such as municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants) and nonpoint sources (stormwater runoff from both urban and agricultural landscapes) in Iowa. 

CCUR Welcomes New Administrative Specialist

Janet Johnson joined CCUR in May as an administrative specialist. Johnson's primary duties are providing administrative support to the CCUR director, assisting with grant proposal submissions, key access control for CCUR, hourly student payroll and assisting with meetings and workshops. 

 


June

Joseph P. Polin, graduate student in mechanical engineering, (center) received first place in the Gary Lamie Student Poster Competition. Also pictured are Chris Novak, NCGA chief executive officer, (left) and Dennis Maple, chair of the NCGA Corn Productivity & Quality Action Team. Photo by ZimmComm New Media, LLC.
Joseph P. Polin, graduate student in mechanical engineering, (center) received first place in the Gary Lamie Student Poster Competition. Also pictured are Chris Novak, NCGA chief executive officer, (left) and Dennis Maple, chair of the NCGA Corn Productivity & Quality Action Team. Photo by ZimmComm New Media, LLC.

John Strohl Retires after 30 Years at Iowa State

John Strohl retired in June after 30 years as the Iowa State Fermentation Facility manager. As John was finishing up his graduate degree in chemical engineering at Iowa State, he was asked by Professor Peter Riley to take over the operation of the facility. His last day at Iowa State was June 1.

Gross-Wen Technologies, Inc. Receives $2 million Investment from Doerfer Corporation

In June, Gross-Wen Technologies, Inc. (GWT) announced receipt of a $2 million investment from Doerfer Corporation, a U.S.-based engineering designer, manufacturer and integrator of factory automation and technology-based systems and related equipment. GWT is commercializing an algal wastewater treatment technology developed at Iowa State.

Micro-creamery Coming to Iowa State University 

For the past couple of years, Professor Stephanie Clark in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) has been working on plans to open a creamery at Iowa State. The first phase of her plan will come to fruition this fall with the opening of a micro-creamery in CCUR's Wet Processing Pilot Plant. The micro-creamery will be situated in the southeast corner of the pilot plant, and will include a clarifier/separator, a pasteurizer cheese vat, an ice cream freezer and sanitation equipment. The plans were announced in June.

Iowa State University Students Present Research at Corn Utilization and Technology Conference, ME Graduate Student Takes First Place

CCUR and BCRF staff and affiliated students attended the 2018 Corn Utilization and Technology Conference (CUTC) held June 4-6 in St. Louis, Mo. Three Iowa State University students received funding to attend the conference from CCUR through a grant from the Iowa Corn Promotion Board. Joseph Polin, graduate student in mechanical engineering and working in the Bioeconomy Institute (BEI), received first place in the Gary Lamie Student Poster Competition for his work on improving the process economics of making biorenewable fuels and chemicals from corn stover. His poster on “Overcoming the challenges of using corn stover as feedstock in autothermal pyrolysis” received a cash award of $500.


Bill Colonna, CCUR assistant scientist, (center) gives a demonstration on how to use the 50-L fermentor during the Introduction to Fermentation Workshop.
Bill Colonna, CCUR assistant scientist, (center) gives a demonstration on how to use the 50-L fermentor during the Introduction to Fermentation Workshop.

July

Introduction to Fermentation Workshop held at CCUR 

CCUR hosted a two-day Introduction to Fermentation Workshop July 11-12 at Iowa State. Fifteen participants attended the event. The workshop included lectures from Anthony Pometto, professor of food, nutrition and packaging sciences at Clemson University, and Kevin Keener, professor of FSHN at ISU. The lectures covered the basics of fermentation including equipment and instrumentation, fermentation regulations, downstream processing and scaling up fermentation processes.  Attendees took part in four hands-on lab activities using bench- and pilot-scale equipment in CCUR's Fermentation Facility, Wet Processing Pilot Plant and Analytical Lab. The workshop was sponsored by CIRAS and Eppendorf.

Darr Named Administrative Leader of BCRF

Matt Darr, professor of ABE, was named administrative leader of BCRF and Precision Agriculture and Industry Partnership Fellow in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Darr, who also serves as the Kinze Manufacturing Fellow in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, began his duties on July 1. He succeeded Kevin Keener, who had served as the farm’s director since 2015.


Summer interns Marion Roulliaux (left) and Lena Duris use the gravity table to test the efficacy of separating grain kernels.
Summer interns Marion Roulliaux (left) and Lena Duris use the gravity table to test the efficacy of separating grain kernels.

August

Safi-Tech is a Finalist in the John Pappajohn Iowa Entrepreneurial Venture Competition

Twelve startups, including Safi-Tech, were selected to present their business plan concepts to a panel of judges during the 13th Annual John Pappajohn Iowa Entrepreneurial Venture Competition held Aug. 30 at the Iowa State University Economic Development Core Facility in the ISU Research Park. In last year’s competition, Gross-Wen Technologies was awarded the $25,000 top prize. Safi-Tech is part of CCUR's  industry incubator program.

Sep-All receives a DOE Phase 1 SBIR grant 

Sep-All was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for their project, Low-Heat Process for the Production of High-Value Micro- and Nano-Materials from Metallic Wastes. Sep-All is a materials manufacturing start-up company focused on providing a new supply stream of critical materials and nanomaterials from wastes. Sep-All is part of CCUR's industry incubator program.

Summer Interns Use CCUR Equipment for Grain Processing Research Projects

Five food engineering graduate student interns from the Polytech Montpellier in Montpellier, France, spent the summer working with Kurt Rosentrater, associate professor of ABE and CCUR affiliate, on multiple grain processing research projects. The students came to Iowa State  as part of an exchange program between ABE and Polytech Montpellier. The students worked with flint corn (maize), teff, kamut and amaranth. 


Zhiyou Wen

Zhiyou Wen

September

Wen Named Interim Director for CCUR 

Zhiyou Wen, professor of FSHN, was named the interim director of CCUR. He assumed his new duties Sept. 1. Wen succeeded Kevin Keener, who had served as the center’s director since 2015. Wen’s research focuses on green and sustainable food, fuel and biomaterials processing technologies. One area of his research studies the cultivation of microalgae for wastewater treatment and for value-added products. In 2013, Wen led the development of Iowa State’s first pilot-scale algal production facility located at the BCRF. The facility is helping university researchers and industry develop new algae cultivation technologies and products.

 


Tong Wang (right) leads an effort to find new uses for soybean oil at Iowa State University. Wang and postdoctoral research associate Tao Fei (left) believe soybean wax can be used as a coating for cardboard boxes as a more environmentally friendly alternative to paraffin wax. Image courtesy of Tong Wang.
Tong Wang (right) leads an effort to find new uses for soybean oil at Iowa State University. Wang and postdoctoral research associate Tao Fei (left) believe soybean wax can be used as a coating for cardboard boxes as a more environmentally friendly alternative to paraffin wax.Image courtesy of Tong Wang.

October

Iowa State University Researchers Developing New Industrial Uses for Wax Made from Soybean Oil 

A new article from Iowa State University News Service highlights research at Iowa State that focuses on developing wax from soybean oil that would share many properties of paraffin wax but would also be biodegradable. The research could benefit the environment by reducing the roughly 3 billion pounds of paraffin-coated boxes that end up in landfills every year. The research also could lead to new markets for soybeans at a time when global trade tensions are roiling grain markets, said Tong Wang, a professor of FSHN and CCUR affiliate who leads the research. Wang and her team have filed two patents related to their soybean oil products and recently received a $90,000 continuation grant from the United Soybean Board to develop new applications for the technology.

Cheesemaking Demonstration held in Pilot Plant for Food Science External Advisory Council 

Stephanie Clark, professor of FSHN, led a demonstration of making cheese curds in CCUR's Wet Processing Pilot Plant for FSHN's External Advisory Council on Oct. 26. The council members participated in the cheesemaking steps by cutting up the curds in one-inch cubes, salting, adding herbs and finally tasting the finished product. Students pressed the remaining curds and made them into wheels for cutting and serving at the FSHN Homecoming tailgate event on Oct. 27.


The winners and judges from the Mung Bean Education and Innovation Contest.
The winners and judges from the Mung Bean Education and Innovation Contest.

November

Mung Bean Education and Innovation Contest held at Iowa State University

Seven students - one team of four, and three individuals - took part in the final round of the Mung Bean Education and Innovation Contest Nov. 29, in the Food Sciences Building. The contest was coordinated by the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and the Department of Agronomy. Students were allowed to use the Center for Crops Utilization Research's Test Kitchen to prepare their recipes prior to judging. 

 

 

 


Students explain to Hui Wang, CCUR pilot plant manager, how the new sensors will work on the CPM pellet mill.
Students explain to Hui Wang, CCUR pilot plant manager, how the new sensors will work on the CPM pellet mill. 

December

ABE Senior Capstone Team Improving Performance of CCUR's Pellet Mills 

A Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Senior Capstone team improvedtwo CPM lab pellet mills located in CCUR's Dry Processing Pilot Plant. The pellet mills will be used for feed manufacturing research by students in TSM 455/555 Feed Processing and Technology. The team added performance data collection capabilities to these two pellet mills for power usage, temperature monitoring and total machine throughput in addition to improving the moisture/steam addition capabilities. Sam Cook, a lecturer in ABE, is the Senior Capstone team mentor and the instructor for TSM 455/555.