The results of this project will lead to the development of a biomass fuel industry in the Northern Plains.
Chariton Valley Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) is working to develop markets for switchgrass as an alternative energy crop in southern Iowa. Native to North America, switchgrass is resistant to many pests and plant diseases and can be grown on marginal lands. It is also capable of producing high yields of biomass with very low applications of fertilizer. The agronomic characteristics combined with the excellent burn qualities of switchgrass have generated interest in growing it for use as a supplementary fuel in electricity generation.
The three objectives of this project are:
Research activities include: a wildlife impact study of switchgrass production and harvesting; an economic study to evaluate the potential of switchgrass as a profitable alternative to row crops; development of equipment and processes required for harvesting, handling, and co-firing switchgrass; co-fire testing of switchgrass, including evaluation of fuel and ash samples, boiler performance, and emissions generated; and deployment of technology at Alliant Power’s Ottumwa Generating Station.