Tech Works Gets First Anchor Tenant - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Tech Works Gets First Anchor Tenant


Here is the latest update on Waterloo's new TechWorks facility.

TechWorks Campus is pleased to announce that interior construction is complete on the third floor of Tech 1 and anchor tenant, University of Northern Iowa's National Ag-Based Lubricants (NABL) Center, is currently moving into the 25,000 square-foot space.

"It's gratifying to see the first resident move into the campus," said TechWorks President Steve Dust.  "As the concept emerged that TechWorks Campus should become a center of bio-product related activity, it was important that NABL be our anchor. Their presence will help the Campus attract attention of more business, education, and research involved in bio-products.  We welcome NABL, and thank the TechWorks board, staff, and many others for making this happen," concludes Dust.

Cary Darrah, TechWorks General Manager adds, "Having UNI's National Ag-Based Lubricant testing Lab will be critical in our recruiting efforts of additional tenants to TechWorks.  We're looking forward to sharing the vision and success of renovating a former industrial building into a functional and sustainable space for NABL- while at the same time inviting other innovators to grow their businesses along side an industry partner."

The NABL Center, formerly the University of Northern Iowa's (UNI) Ag-Based Industrial Lubricants (ABIL) Research Program, was established in 1991 with a grant from the Iowa Soybean Promotion Board. Specializing in the research and development of vegetable-based lubricants, ABIL became a nationally-recognized technical service organization with a reputation for unique expertise toward crop-based industrial lubricants.

UNI-ABIL successfully developed and licensed to market more than 30 products ranging from multi-grade hydraulic fluids, to niche-market greases, to gear lubricants - proving that vegetable formulations are not only feasible, but offer specific performance advantages, and are environmentally preferable. ABIL successfully eliminated barriers that once kept soybean-based products from capturing a portion of the existing 2.4 billion gallon US lubricants market.

In January of 2006, ABIL expanded its scope to become the National Agriculture-Based Lubricants (NABL) Center. The goal of the NABL Center is to continue research and testing of viable biolubricant discoveries, examine their environmental impact, and to demonstrate the resulting technologies. NABL also focuses on alleviating unresolved questions about biobased performance, testing protocols and standards, as well as assisting in the overall adoption of biobased products. NABL now offers biofuels testing as well. Learn more about NABL and their testing services here:

"Our entire staff is looking forward to our new home at TechWorks.  NABL's new laboratory facilities are state of the art, and will provide NABL with the ideal environment to leverage our investment in extensive analytical, physiochemical, and tribological instrumentation as a resource available to developing biobased industries in the Cedar Valley," said Wes James, NABL Assistant Director.

TechWorks is a regional bioeconomy campus focused on connecting intellectual property, technology, and industry innovators to commercialize and manufacture bioproducts.  Once completed, TechWorks Campus will include these three programs:

  • TechWorks Technology Center – The Technology Center helps to ensure the availability and quality of a knowledgeable workforce and provides a forum for research and development, academic research, education and workforce training.
  • TechWorks Manufacturing Cluster – Facilities and programs of the Manufacturing Cluster will facilitate the commercialization of new products through intensive outreach and accessibility – and create new private-sector business.
  • Ag Exhibit Center – The Exhibit Center will capitalize on the grown economy for ag-heritage tourism, providing resources for visitors – from agriculture past to agriculture future.  The center also helps educate the public on the uses and benefits of biobased products.

TechWorks singles out outgoing Waterloo Mayor Tim Hurley for his involvement with this project. "A tremendous amount of thanks goes to Mayor Hurley and his team at the City of Waterloo.  Without Mayor Hurley's personal involvement, attention and hard work, this would not have happened," stated Mark Kittrell, TechWorks Board Chair. Mayor Hurley will continue to serve as a member of the TechWorks Board of Directors.

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