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Plugging your farm fields into the energy equation

by 5m Editor
19 January 2007, at 10:48am

ILLINOIS - Picture this. Your fields are large solar energy collectors, and university researchers are studying how to maximize plant photosynthesis to help meet our nation’s energy needs.

Last week, a biomass feedstocks and energy production symposium, sponsored by the Illinois Council for Food and Agricultural Research (C-FAR), drew scientists and businessmen from as far away as Washington and California to the University of Illinois’ Urbana campus.

The discussion was futuristic and, at times, regionalistic.

“Let’s keep this (development) in the Midwest. Let’s not have the coasts buy us out so the profits bleed to the coasts. This is an opportunity to fix Midwest agriculture by providing the elusive third crop we’ve been talking about,” said Steven Fales, associate director of Iowa State University’s biorenewable programs.

Fales described his university’s plan for a large-scale energy research farm and production system, dubbed the New Century Farm. Iowa State plans to break ground this spring, but has not obtained the entire $15 million needed to develop the project.

Long envisioned the U of I energy farm including energy crop research such as miscanthus, wind energy turbines, and methane digesters from the swine research unit.

Source: FarmWeek

5m Editor