Machine Design

Electricity from grass

Switchgrass could be a new source of electricity, according to researchers at energy service provider Alliant Energy at its Ottumwa Generating Station in Chillicothe, Iowa. The grass, a natural component of tall-grass prairies, has a highenergy output when properly harvested and produces less greenhouse emissions when burned, making it a clean, renewable source of energy. Currently in the test phase, the project hopes to have switchgrass account for 5% of the fuel burned at the Ottumwa generating station, with up to 200,000 tons burned annually.

John Deere self-propelled windrowers and square balers harvested the switchgrass for the experimental phase.

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