This article offers an understanding of the evolution of Iowa's ethanol industry landscape.Aconceptual framework based on a techno-economic paradigm of networked organizations and associated regional innovation systems is used to understand linkages among organizations involved in the ethanol production value-chain. Iowa is an adapter region-federal and state policies conducive to renewable energy and ethanol production encouraged new entrants to the sector. Farmers became business owners through cooperatives and outsourced refinery design and sometimes management. The state also attracted integrated large firms, including agri-processors and an oil refiner, which leveraged additional support from the local government and indirectly affected federal policy through their position in industry associations. University research, extension services, government laboratories, and foreign companies got involved in the process, directly and indirectly, through research and development (R&D), farmers' support, and other related services. The ethanol industry's future depends on progress in R&D (cellulosic ethanol), innovation, shifts in embedding environmental concerns in economic processes, and policy. Subsidies and mandates across the value-chain and innovative shifts in products and processes will continue to influence the restructuring of how the industry is organized.
- Regional system
- Renewable energy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Earth-Surface Processes