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Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack Formally Adopts "Biobased Products and Bioenergy Vision and Roadmap for Iowa"

BIOWA Development Association. Contacts:
Georg Anderl, Chairman, BIOWA  or 319-368-7600
Brad Petersburg, BIOWA or 641-588-3116


Des Moines, Iowa: Iowa Governor Tom Vilasck met with leaders of the BIOWA organization Monday, June 2nd and signed a formal declaration adopting the Vision and Roadmap developed by the group. The Biobased Products and Bioenergy Vision and Roadmap for Iowa was developed with input from over 500 Iowans in 2002.

The vision and roadmap process was launched in 2001 with formal Memorandum of Understanding with Iowa Governor Vilsack. The purpose of the project was to develop a vision for converting Iowa’s agricultural crops and residues into biobased products and bioenergy and charting a roadmap for achieving the vision. The project was a collaborative effort among a diverse group of stakeholders, including agricultural producers, commodity groups, private industry, financial institutions, state agencies, environmental advocates, and university researchers. The effort was facilitated by Iowa State University Extension Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS).

The vision and roadmap document, which can be accessed here, establishes targets for production of biobased chemicals, biomaterials, bioenergy and biofuels for years 2020 and 2050. Since its release, the document has received national and international attention.

According to Georg Anderl, Chairman of BIOWA, the organization is now actively working to implement the vision and roadmap. "BIOWA has three primary goals," reports Anderl. "The first goal of BIOWA is to establish 10 biorefineries in Iowa by the year 2020. The biorefineries will be clusters of biobased industries producing chemicals, fuels, power, products, and materials. The biorefineries will be environmentally sustainable because they will use Iowa’s abundant renewable biomass feedstocks like corn, soybeans, corn stover, wheat straw or switch grass. The biorefineries will model a natural ecosystem where there is no such thing as "waste". Raw materials will come from plants that capture energy from the sun through photosynthesis, and by-products from each process will be further refined into other end-products. The second goal is to build at least five new bio-businesses or major expansions of existing bio-businesses each year in Iowa beginning in the year 2005. The third goal is to provide quality employment and investment opportunities for Iowans in biorefineries and biobased businesses."

Brad Petersburg, another leader of the BIOWA Development Association, reports that he and other members of Midwest Grain Processors, based near Lakota, IA, see the biorefinery model as their future. "Building an ethanol plant is just the first step. We plan to extract higher value products from our corn as well as encourage related businesses to co-locate in our agricultural industrial park."

Petersburg added comments about the impact of achieving BIOWA goals: Preliminary estimates derived from a study done by the Institute for Decision Making at the University of Northern Iowa indicate that achieving BIOWA goals for biorefineries and biobased businesses will create 22,000 new high quality jobs, $11.6B of economic impact per year in Iowa, and $367M of new taxes in Iowa per year.

The BIOWA group is comprised of industry leaders, faculty from Iowa regents institutions doing research on biobased technologies, agricultural producers, farm organizations and financial institutions. For more information about BIOWA, contact Georg Anderl at or phone: 319-368-7600.