Grow, burn, repeat

Have a question for the energy expert?

post your questionread the answers

Post your questions here for Troy Goodnough. We'll pick the best ones and post his answers.

UMM will be using corn stover—the dried stalks and leaves left over after the corn has been harvested—to heat and cool the campus. When stover is heated without oxygen, it turns into a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen gas. This gas burns far more cleanly and efficiently than the raw plant material.

how does this work?
large metal machineGoodnough says, "We are a highly energy-dependent society. Although we constitute only 5% of the global population, we consume about 25% of the world’s energy production. We must take action to conserve energy, educate others, and develop new energy sources. We see oil, natural gas, and coal sources being depleted within a few human lifetimes. What will we do when it runs out?” This reactor is one possible solution.

Farm fields within 100 miles of UMM produce about 677,000 tons of agricultural leftovers. The new gasification reactor at UMM, operational in 2007, will use about 9000 tons of that.

UMM researchers believe the gasification process can spur rural development, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce the need for foreign sources of energy.