Iowa Central to host nation’s only independent testing lab for ethanol, biodiesel

FORT DODGE — Iowa Central Community College broke ground this week on what will become its new Biofuels Testing Laboratory on the west side of Fort Dodge. Iowa Central President Jesse Ulrich says it will be a welcome addition to the campus and it’ll be the only independent biofuels testing lab in the country.

“This was something that was started at Iowa Central back in the mid 2000s,” Ulrich says. “We worked with a local trucking company, Decker Truck Lines, to really test out the difference between regular fuel and biofuel within the trucking industry.”

He says the planned state-of-the-art lab will be the end result of very humble beginnings.

“It’s something that really started kind of out of a closet, a very small operation, and moved into the Biohealth Science Building. We’ve just continued to grow and expand,” Ulrich says. “As a part of our 2018 public bond referendum, that our community supported, there was some money set aside to build a new testing lab.”

The land on which the lab will be built didn’t cost Iowa Central anything, as it had been occupied by a Casey’s convenience store.

“When Casey’s did strategic planning and eliminated that store for use, we contacted Casey’s and heard our vision about what we wanted to do with the property in regards to the biofuel lab, and they thought it was a win-win for everyone,” he says. “We’re very fortunate that Casey’s donated that property to us.”

The lab should be ready for move-in within a year.