Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Iowa Renewable Energy Association (I-Renew) is hosting the Central Iowa Grand Opening for the Imagine Energy Trailer September 22 at the Science Center in Des Moines, Iowa.  The Imagine Energy Trailer is a new platform designed to demonstrat renewable energy, as well as methods for achieving energy efficiency.

Craig Just, UI assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and assistant faculty research engineer at

& Engineering, approached I-Renew in early 2014 to offer a partnership. His students had designed a mobile demonstration trailer, and he was hoping that I-Renew could handle the deployment and educational outreach for the project. As it turned out, I-Renew was in the midst of designing their own mobile demonstration trailer.

“In reviewing the separate but remarkably similar in-development designs, it became clear we had to work together,” explains Kimberly Dickey, I-Renew President of the Board.

Since Just's trailer was farther along in the design process, I-Renew decided to merge features from their original design into the trailer that had been started by the students.

From 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, the Imagine Energy Trailer will be open to the public and press. Visitors can experience renewable energy in a new way, and learn how to make their homes or buildings more energy efficient. The event will provide free popcorn that has been popped by the power of the sun.

“You can learn how various energy efficiency options can save you some green,” explains Don White, I-Renew's Vice President of the Board. “Plus, we can help you envision how the components for a photovoltaic system would fit into your utility room.”

According to White, the NH3 Fuels Association Conference pulls in collaborators from across the globe. Among this year's collaborators will be Bill Leighty of the Leighty Foundation, who is working on the next generation energy infrastructure that would enable the world to run on 100% renewable energy sources. The Leighty Foundation provided some of the initial funding for early designs for the Imagine Energy Trailer.“More Iowans should be made aware of the groundbreaking work of the NH3 Fuels Association,” says White. “I-Renew hopes to draw attention to it by unveiling the Imagine Energy Trailer during the conference.”

Funding for the trailer came from an Iowa EPSCoR grant. The grant was awarded by The National Science Foundation in 2011 as part of the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), a federal program designed to improve the research capacity of eligible states or regions, making them nationally competitive for future grants. The research program’s vision was to establish Iowa as a leader in the worldwide transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

Van Meter Inc. donated all the technology components of the trailer. RJ Jordan of RJ Construction completed the trailer's build. Blair Gauntt of iDezign Digital Workgroup designed the exterior look of the trailer by creating the “Imagine Energy” artwork used on the sides and back.

For more information see