The Iowa Power Fund Board Wednesday approved a total of 2.69-million dollars in awards for three projects in the state. The largest award, for 1.5 million dollars, is for Ames-based Cellencor. Power Fund Board spokesperson Jessica Zopf says the company is trying to develop ways for the biofuels industry to reduce energy use.

She says Cellencor has launched a project to cut carbon output and improve efficiencies with the biofuels drying process. Another Ames-based company, Renewable Energy Group, is receiving 740-thousand dollars for a 1.2-million dollar research project involving alternative energy. Zopf says REG is studying feedstocks, moisture absorption and methods to measure low levels of particulate matter in biodiesel. REG officials say they’ll work with Iowa community colleges to provide product samples and internships for students.

Another 450-thousand dollar award is being directed toward Des Moines-based AmeriCorps, which is developing a public education program focused on energy conservation and energy efficiency. The Power Fund Board also discussed a 14.7-million dollar award for Project Liberty, located in Emmetsburg. Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based POET is leading the Project Liberty effort to develop ethanol from corncobs and grasses. The Power Fund award, however, is under review by POET.

"It’s a 20-page (contract) and we want to make sure that it works for them as well as it’s going to be working for us," Zopf said.

The Iowa Power Fund Board also committed 7.9-million dollars in funding for seven additional projects, which are still under contract review.