An award letter said editors and a judging panel consider the project "one of the top 100 most technologically significant products introduced into the marketplace over the past year."
The award goes to Hans van Leeuwen, an ISU professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering and the leader of the research project; Anthony L. Pometto III, a professor of food science and human nutrition; Mary Rasmussen, a graduate student in environmental engineering and biorenewable resources and technology; and Samir Khanal, a former ISU research assistant professor who's now an assistant professor of molecular biosciences and bioengineering at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
The award winners will be featured in the September issue of R&D Magazine. They'll also be honored at an Oct. 16 banquet at Chicago's Navy Pier.
Van Leeuwen said the researchers appreciate the recognition of their work and hope it will help them commercialize their processing technology.
The researchers are focused on using fungi to clean up and improve the dry-grind ethanol production process.
Van Leeuwen said the technology can save United States ethanol producers up to $800 million a year in energy costs. He also said the technology can produce ethanol co-products worth another $400 million per year.
The project also was the winner of the 2008 Grand Prize for University Research presented by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers.