Iowa Switchgrass Project

Part 1 of Biopower Facts.

  • Productive use of marginal lands
  • Establish management practices for production of switchgrass as a potential alternative new crop
  • Encourage rural economic growth and development


The results of this project will lead to the development of a biomass fuel industry in the Northern Plains.

Biomass Program

The three objectives of this project are:

  1. to demonstrate the technical aspects and overall viability of establishing a large-scale biomass supply;
  2. to develop implementation strategies that will create sustainable, economically-viable alternatives for the local agricultural economy, secondary industry opportunities, and support rural development efforts; and
  3. to establish the credibility of biomass within the energy community and increase in energy technology.

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 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.