Asbestos assessment and removal funds still available for small communities


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Exposure to asbestos has been linked to higher incidences of cancer, weaker immune systems and other health effects. (Aaron Suggs/flickr)
Jenna Ladd| August 29, 2017

The Derelict Building Grant Program still has funds available for qualifying communities looking to inspect and properly remove asbestos from abandoned buildings, according to a recent announcement by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Derelict Building Grant Program funding is awarded annually to communities of 5,000 residents or less on a competitive basis. It provides financial support needed to asses for and remove asbestos, to deconstruct or renovate structures and to limit demolition materials that end up in landfills.

So far in 2017 the program has provided $350,000 in support to 18 communities across the state. The largest grant of $60,000 went to Osceola for the abatement and renovation of a commercial building that the city plans to use to spur economic development in the area.

“If a building collapses and the presence of asbestos is unknown, it can increase the economic burden on the community,” said the DNR’s Scott Flagg in a recent statement. He continued, “In addition, a building’s appearance may not reveal the actual condition of the structure. Building assessments can assist communities determine how best to address an abandoned building.”

In the same statement, the DNR announced that the program has an additional $50,000 to be disbursed this year. Applications will be accepted until funds are no longer available.

Applications for the next round of funding are due April 4, 2018.

ISU engineer receives $400,000 grant to optimize electric motor designs


Iowa State University assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, Dionysios Aliprantis. Photo courtesy of Iowa State University.

Dionysios Aliprantis, an assistant professor at Iowa State University, received a five-year $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to fund his research on the optimization of electric motors and generators.

The grant is part of the NSF’s Faculty Early Career Development Program, and will fund Aliprantis’ work as he develops computer modeling technology that will help engineers craft electric motors into new, more powerful designs.

 “The goal is to get more power out of the same size motor,” said Aliprantis. “Or, that could mean getting the same power with a smaller motor.”

However, Aliprantis is not expecting a massive increase in performance.

“I’m looking for a little bit of increase, maybe 5 percent or 1 percent,” he said. “But multiply that number by the number of hybrid cars, let’s say, and you could get savings in the billions of dollars. The potential here could be huge.”

For more information, read the full Iowa State University news release.