A $350M upgrade at the Alliant Energy Chillicothe generating plant (near Ottumwa) has reduced emissions and increased efficiency.
Alliant Energy generator at Chillicothe.
In a letter sent this week, State Representative Curt Hanson of Fairfield requested that the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reject the Medicaid waiver applications submitted by Governor Continue Reading →
The annual Fairfield Kiwanis Kids Day Activities included a Kiddie Pedal Pull. In this event, kids pedal a small tractor as they pull a sled modeled after the tractor pull sleds seen at County and State Fairs in the Midwest. The attached picture shows Kiwanis member Curt getting the pedal tractors ready for the event.
Does giant miscanthus have a role in the future of Iowa biofuels, our nutrient reduction strategy and improved wildlife habitat? Many think it does. Stay tuned! (see the Des Moines Register article of 8/26/15)
UI ramps up biofuel efforts
Josh O’Leary, email@example.com 10:24 a.m. CDT August 26, 2015
Five years ago, the University of Iowa unveiled an ambitious 10-year energy plan that, in part, set out to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and ramp up the use of renewable energy sources.Farms like the one owned by Dan Black outside Iowa City, where a special high-energy, high-yielding perennial crop has been growing the past two years, could help UI meet that sustainability target of renewable fuels accounting for 40 percent of UI’s overall energy consumption by 2020.”My thought is that anytime we can grow fuel in the state of Iowa, we’re doing something positive,” said Black, who has partnered with UI on its biomass project by setting aside 15 acres of his land to grow giant miscanthus, a tallgrass native to east Asia.
Black hosted about 100 participants at his farm in a field day Tuesday morning organized by UI to highlight its biomass project, which is now moving from the experimental stage to commercial scale.
UI is recruiting more Eastern Iowa landowners to grow the tallgrass, which can be fed to its power plant and supplement the use of coal and natural gas to provide power, steam and chilled water to the main campus.
There are currently 350 acres of land dedicated to growing miscanthus for UI in Johnson, Linn and Muscatine counties — including 65 acres planted this year at the Eastern Iowa Airport — and another 350 acres are expected to be added next spring, project leaders say. The goal is to increase that number to as much as 2,500 acres in the coming years.
UI has been testing the use of miscanthus in its solid fuel boilers at its main campus power plant, which was a tour stop for the farmers, local elected officials, UI leaders and others who took part in the field day. Participants also visited a 35-acre plot of miscanthus near UI’s commuter lot off Hawkeye Park Road on the west side of the city, in addition to Black’s farm off Highway 1 south of the city.
Ben Fish, associate director of utilities at UI, said the 35 acres of miscanthus growing near the commuter lot would be enough to power the equivalent of 40 homes for a year. However, Fish said that with UI consuming about the same amount of electricity each year as all of the households in Iowa City combined, the university needs to significantly increase its miscanthus growing capabilities to make a difference.
“The scale that we need to make a big impact in renewables, for us it has to be big,” Fish said. “It’s not something we can do in little bits and pieces — we just won’t get there.”
Fish said that this year, UI is on track for renewable energy sources to account for about 15 percent of its total energy consumption, meaning the university has its work cut out over the next five years to reach the 40 percent targeted in its “2020 Vision” initiative. Miscanthus isn’t UI’s first foray into biofuels, however. Since 2003, UI has been burning oat hulls at its power plant through a partnership with Quaker Oats, and it has added wood chips from local sources to its boilers in recent years.
Project leaders say the dedicated energy crops present a number of benefits beyond the sustainability aspects, including keeping energy sources local, generating revenue for growers independent of corn and bean prices, providing new use for low-productivity cropland, creating new wildlife habitat, and bettering soil and water quality.
“I used to joke when I came here that there were plenty of reasons to grow perennial crops in Iowa, money just wasn’t one of them,” said Emily Heaton, an assistant professor of agronomy at Iowa State who has worked with UI on its miscanthus efforts. “What’s happened with the University of Iowa project is it’s created a market. And that’s essential in getting more perennials on the land in Iowa — to have steady markets like what is provided with this project.”
U.S. Congressman Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa City, who spoke at the field day, praised UI’s collaboration with Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa on the project, and its effort to move away from fossil fuels.
“It’s about making sure we create energy that is cleaner than what we did traditionally, and what we do to some extent today,” said Loebsack, while pledging that he would continue to push in Congress for greater renewable fuel use. “Economically it’s the right thing to do, and in so many other ways it’s the right thing to do.”
Reach Josh O’Leary at firstname.lastname@example.org or 887-5415, and follow him on Twitter at @JD_OLeary.
State Representative Curt Hanson donated an American Flag and an Iowa Flag to the Fairfield Senior Center. The flag was flown over the Iowa State Capitol honoring National Senior Center Month and was presented to Richard R. Jewell, President of the Fairfield Senior Center Board of Directors.
September is National Senior Center Month across the US. This year’s theme is “Celebrate LIFE at your Senior Center!” Learning: Where you can expand your knowledge. Independence: Live on your terms. Friends: Enjoy life. Energy: Discover health and vitality.
State Representative Curt Hanson presented an American Flag to Fairfield Park and Recreation Director Deriki Wulfekuhle (right) and Jason Scott (left). The flag was flown over the Iowa State Capitol honoring National Park and Recreation Month.
“During Park and Recreation Month we celebrate families and the importance of green space in our communities,” said Hanson. “The Fairfield Parks and Recreation has offered us services and scenery that our community has enjoyed for years.”
This past July marked 30 years of National Parks and Recreation Month.
After Governor Branstad vetoed school funding last week, Representative Curt Hanson announced today <he/she> will sign a petition calling for a special session of the Iowa Legislature to override the Continue Reading →