Iowa Central fuel lab continues to grow

Iowa Central Fuel Testing Laboratory came into being through direct appropriations from the Iowa Legislature led by state Rep. Helen Miller, D-Fort Dodge, and U. S. Department of Energy via direct appropriations led by former U.S. Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, former U. S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. We have also had strong support from the Iowa and National Biodiesel boards, as well as the Renewable Fuels Association and the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

The laboratory is presently a self-sustaining unit of Iowa Central Community College and is located on the main campus in Fort Dodge. The laboratory is an accredited laboratory serving the needs of the fuels industry, with emphasis on renewable fuels, by providing low cost fuel testing services with rapid turnaround.

The key objectives of the laboratory are to provide quality, timely and cost-effective services for our clients while achieving self-sustaining annual revenue growth. The laboratory also contributes academic support to the college by providing scholarships, free testing and guided tours for student laboratory classes, as well as internship opportunities and possible employment for qualified students. In addition we will continue to provide a steady stream of research dollars allocated towards renewable fuels research conducted in the laboratory.

The Laboratory is nationally recognized for our standards of quality in fuel testing, and all of our clients receive quality service at reasonable prices with a 72-hour business day turnaround for in-house testing. The laboratory acts as an educational resource for the college and the community, representing the benefits of the advancement of biofuels and other bio-based products.

The laboratory has grown so fast we are now looking at relocating to a larger space to meet our testing demand. Additional areas of growth include feedstock and by-product testing. As the renewable fuels industry evolves, recognizing and preparing for industry needs is essential for client satisfaction. The biodiesel industry is finding a growing need for glycerin testing so that this by-product of production can become a viable revenue stream. Likewise for the ethanol industry, corn oil production is becoming a viable revenue stream and requires appropriate testing. Feedstock testing will become increasingly important as the biodiesel and ethanol industries expand to include a vast and diverse array of potential feedstocks.

In addition, the laboratory has become more attractive to the ethanol industry as a reliable laboratory for their fuel quality and other testing needs. We continue to provide testing services to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and just began doing testing for the state of South Dakota. We hope to attract other states as well.

Some of the test packages and services we offer include:

• Full ASTM D6751 testing which is a panel of over 15 tests required for biodiesel,

• Full ASTM D975 testing which is a panel of over 10 tests required for diesel,

• Full ASTM D7467 testing which is a panel of tests for biodiesel blends,

• Full ASTM D4806 which is a panel of tests for fuel ethanol, and

• Full ASTM D5798 which is a panel of tests for E85 blends.

Additional services include technical support for industry and academic research efforts.

We want to thank all of our customers who have helped us grow and meet the needs of the renewable fuel and retail fuel markets. If interested in a tour of the Laboratory, just give us a call at 574-1259 or email fuels@iowafuellab.com and we will be happy to schedule a visit. As we expand we will continue to keep our customers, taxpayers and students informed.

Jim Kersten is vice president of external affairs and government relations at Iowa Central Community College. Dr. Don Heck is director of the Iowa Central Fuel Testing Laboratory.