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Middle Bit: Heated pavement technology tests well at Des Moines Airport

Des Moines International Airport

Engineers from Iowa State University were pleased Friday morning with how their heated-pavement technology tested at the Des Moines International Airport.

Two slabs of electrically conductive concrete effectively cleared ice and snow during testing over the last few days and weeks. The technology is a project led by Halil Ceylan and a group of Iowa State University engineers.

According to a press release, the test slabs at Des Moines International Airport are nearly eight inches thick in two layers—the bottom four inches are regular concrete—the top three and a half are electrically conductive concrete. Between the layers are twelve metal electrodes, six per slab, running the width of each slab. The electrodes are wired to the nearby hangar’s power supply.

The slabs are also wired with various sensors: temperature probes, strain gauges, humidity sensors and more. There are two surveillance cameras mounted nearby. And the team just acquired its newest research tool…A high-grade thermal camera.

Ceylan says the installation costs would be higher than regular pavements but save on the cost of plows, de-icing chemicals and wastewater treatment of chemical runoff.

Bryan Belt, the director of engineering and planning at the Des Moines International Airport, said this is the first major research project at the airport.

Belt said with this technology, you would strategically place it in areas with high foot or bag traffic.

Women-centered coworking space opens in Minneapolis

A new coworking space designed specifically for women opened its doors Tuesday in Minneapolis, according to a story Wednesday in the Star Tribune.

ModernWell opened at the former Baby Grand Building at 2909 Wayzata Blvd., according to the story. It is described as a, “Safe space for women to work independently or collaboratively.”

According to the story, the 5,200 square foot building features offices, conference rooms, podcast studio as well as some spaces not dedicated for work like a massage room, yoga studio and a wellness/relaxation area.

Memberships start at $185 a month.

What else happened…


Could arts and culture spark an economic revival in struggling rural towns? – Denver Post


Investors urge Casey’s to sell Iowa-based convenience store chains – Des Moines Register

Phone apps minimize school bus waits on winter days – Des Moines Register


Self-driving tech supplier Velodyne cuts price of key sensor in half –


Bio-techne buys Atlanta biologicals in cash deal – Star Tribune


Airbnb, Missouri, announce revenue sharing state sales tax deal –

Middle Bit: Heated pavement technology tests well at Des Moines Airport | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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