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Erin Dammen

Japan’s Spiber Inc. announces new production operation in Clinton, Iowa

ADM Clinton, IA
ADM Clinton, IA

Image credit: https://www.clintondevelopment.com/ 

Spiber, a Japan-based biotech company that produces lab-grown proteins, has announced its first facility in the U.S will be in Clinton, Iowa. The operations will expand production of its plant-based polymers, such as spider silk used in clothing and other consumer products. Spiber is partnering with ADM to deploy state-of-the-art technology to Clinton County.

Spiber produces biobased, biodegradable protein polymers for use in apparel, auto parts and other products. For example, the company teamed up with The North Face Japan to release a line of jackets made with Spiber’s Brewed Protein™ polymers, which are produced through a plant-based fermentation process, spun into fibers and woven into fabric. Spiber’s technology has gained attention as a platform to generate alternative fibers to nylon and other petroleum-based materials, as well as animal fibers with high carbon footprints.

“Iowa has a deep understanding of the positive impact potential of projects like ours and has created an environment that is conducive to success,” said Daniel Meyer, president of Spiber America LLC.

The $101.4 million project in Clinton stems from a relationship between Spiber and Iowa that started with the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) years ago and solidified during Governor Kim Reynolds’ trade mission to Japan last year.

Four mid-size manufacturers see continued growth in Iowa

worker welding
worker welding

Image credit: XL Specialized Trailers

XL Specialized Trailers plans a $7.5 million expansion project that will add 55,000 square feet to its facility to their facility in Manchester. The company is a market-leading manufacturer of heavy haul and specialized trailers, XL offering superior hauling solutions for the construction, commercial, agriculture, oil and gas, wind energy and custom transportation industries.

ProPulse, a company specializing in the manufacturing of high-pressure hoses used in pressure washers, agricultural machinery and a variety of other products, recently broke ground on a 20,000-square-foot addition to its facility in Peosta. ProPulse is one of the largest high-pressure hose manufacturers in North America, producing over 1.5 million custom high-pressure hose assemblies per year.

In Tolerance, a 73-year-old company in Cedar Rapids, is expanding its facility to bring home operations currently being outsourced to other states. The company is a leader in precision custom-machined stainless steel, aluminum and plastic components and assemblies for a wide variety of applications, primarily for the commercial and military aerospace market, along with the medical, communications and food processing industries.

Lely North America Inc., part of a global manufacturer of automated dairy equipment based in the Netherlands, celebrated the start of construction of its new 100,000-square-foot headquarters in Pella. The facility will be used to produce their flagship Astronaut brand milking robot. Many people outside the dairy industry aren’t aware that tens of thousands of robotic milking machines are already operating globally. The opportunity for new market penetration is significant in North America, where the technology has not as quickly been adopted.

In total these projects have a capital investment of over $34 million while creating nearly 110 new jobs.

Alliant Energy Iowa Clean Energy Blueprint

Terry Kouba, President Alliant Energy - Iowa, Alliant Energy Marshalltown employees and community members join to cut the ribbon at the Marshalltown Solar Garden and Battery Project.

Terry Kouba, President Alliant Energy - Iowa, Alliant Energy Marshalltown employees and community members join to cut the ribbon at the Marshalltown Solar Garden and Battery Project.

More than 9,500 solar panels now generate clean energy at Alliant Energy’s new Marshalltown Solar Garden. This pilot project combines solar power and a battery to generate, store and deliver electricity to customers.

The Marshalltown Solar Garden sits next to Alliant Energy’s Marshalltown Generating Station.

“This solar-battery combination allows us to provide our customers with solar power during the day and night,” Terry Kouba, president of Alliant Energy Iowa, stated in a release. “The solar field adds power to the grid when the sun is shining and then our battery allows our customers to continue using this renewable energy resource in the evening when the sun isn’t shining.”

The 2.55-MW AC solar system in Marshalltown can power nearly 400 homes. With full sun, the solar panels can also fully charge the 548kWh battery within two hours. When discharged, the battery can power nearly 200 homes for two hours. The solar garden became operational in mid-February and the battery was just put into service this week.

The company has three battery sites in Iowa, and each is being used to pilot different combinations of solar power and energy storage technology. The Marshalltown battery is the company’s first battery that’s directly connected to a utility-sized solar field.

Alliant Energy also has two Dubuque solar gardens, which have been generating clean energy for customers since 2017.

Image caption: Terry Kouba, President Alliant Energy – Iowa, Alliant Energy Marshalltown employees and community members join to cut the ribbon at the Marshalltown Solar Garden and Battery Project.

More solar power in Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin pipeline

sun shining on solar panels

sun shining on solar panelsAlliant Energy recently purchased two more Wisconsin solar projects. These facilities will produce enough power for 30,000 Wisconsin homes per year. The 65-megawatt Paddock and 50-megawatt Albany solar projects are both expected to break ground in 2022 and be in service by the end of 2023. Alliant bought the solar facilities from Capital Dynamics, and they were developed by Tenaska, one of the largest private independent energy companies in the U.S.

“We are excited to add these projects to our renewable portfolio and proud to be delivering cleaner energy while investing in local communities,” said Ben Lipari, Director of Resource Development. “Through our purpose-driven strategy, these projects represent continued investment where we have long-standing partnerships with local businesses and community leaders. The partnership between Capital Dynamics and Tenaska has these projects well-positioned for success.”