Imagine Energy Traveler available to RAGBRAI riders

Nick Fetty | July 24, 2014
The Imagine Energy Traveler. Photo via
The Imagine Energy Traveler.
Photo via

The Imagine Energy Traveler – a mobile solar energy generator and educational tool – will be part of the 431-mile trek for this week’s RAGBRAI.

The trailer has amenities that allow RAGBRAI riders and other patrons to charge cell phones and other mobile devices using solar-generated energy. Patrons can also enjoy free popcorn made in a solar powered machine. The trailer also showcases various energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and aims to educate users about these practices.

The Iowa Renewable Energy Association began fundraising, planning, and designing the trailer in 2013 and the following year, Dr. Craig Lust, an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Iowa, joined the effort. Funding was made possible through a grant from 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 Imagine Energy Traveler has made stops at several county fairs and other festivals in eastern Iowa this summer. Currently the traveler can be reserved for free for various events on a first come first served basis. The trailer will be on the University of Iowa campus on October 15 and 16 as part of Meeting the Renewable Energy Challenge event.

Edit: Due to logistical issues, the Imagine Energy Traveler project was not completed on time and therefore not part of RAGBRAI or any other events. 

CGRER member receives major NASA research grant

Photo by The Knowles Gallery, Flickr.

Thanos Papanicolaou – a Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research member, and a UI professor of civil and environmental engineering – and his colleagues received a three-year $641,737 NASA grant to research how intense agricultural activities affect carbon emissions.

Intense agricultural activities refer to the practices associated with increased crop production.

Papanicolaou hopes that the research will determine links between CO2 emission, land use-changes and soil organic carbon. From this, Papanicolaou hopes to create better estimates of future CO2 emissions.

For more information, read Papnicolaou’s research proposal here.