Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tuscola Illinois May Grow Miscanthus

The Village of Tuscola, Illinois is considering leasing some farmland the town owns to a farmer who may grow Miscanthus on it. Miscanthus is being studied heavily at the University of Illinois as a potential feedstock for cellulosic ethanol. Miscanthus takes about 3 years to get established and produce the first viable harvest. Earlier in 2007 BP awarded the University of Illinois, University of California at Berkley and Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory a 10 year $500 million grant to study the viability of bringing miscanthus to the marketplace.

The city is talking about leasing ground sprayed with waste water to a farmer who wants to plant miscanthus, a towering grass being studied for its energy use. If farmer Dan Meyer of Tuscola is able to plant miscanthus on the almost 160 acres northeast of town, it'll be the most in the area. The University of Illinois is currently testing the grass.

Miscanthus could be used to make ethanol or as a renewable energy additive in coal-burning power plants.

"I think it's exciting," Meyer told the city's public works committee Thursday. "It think it would be a great opportunity."

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