Latest Stories

Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, turned the Green Valley Lake green and produced high levels of microcystin, a liver toxin that can cause skin rashes, gastrointestinal issues and, in high doses, liver failure. Pictured July 31, 2015.

Severity of algae in Iowa lakes is on the rise

That paint-like scum that covers some Iowa lakes every summer isn’t just gross and smelly. People, pets, and livestock coming into contact with or ingesting toxins produced by the algae are at risk to symptoms including skin rashes, gastrointestinal issues and, in high doses, liver failure. The toxin, called microcystin, is a liver toxin produced by some strains of cyanobacteria, commonly called blue-green algae.

The BP gas station on Philo Road in Urbana, Ill., on March 5, 2015.

BP cuts funding for ‘most promising’ biofuel

With major cuts in funding, the future is unclear for cellulosic biofuels, an energy source researchers have called “the most promising” of all biofuels. Biofuels are an alternative energy source to petroleum fuel and can be produced from corn, oil or plant material. The fuels are appealing to those looking to reduce carbon emissions and decrease reliance on foreign oil.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor Madu Khanna on Feb. 2 ,2015.

Three things you may not know about ethanol

Every time you put gas in your car, you’re adding a bit of renewable fuel to your tank, as well. You may not notice since renewable fuels are government-mandated, and they only save you a few pennies per gallon of gasoline, according to industry experts. But behind the scenes, there is complex policy that goes into adding that renewable fuel into your gasoline. Here are some pieces of information that break down how renewable fuel production works.