On the Radio: At Green Plains ethanol plant, Shenandoah seeks an algae-powered Iowa

Photo: City of Shenandoah.

This week’s radio segment highlights some innovative research going on in the tiny city of Shenandoah – attempts to use algae for fuel.

But the experiment is just one of many of the town’s cutting-edge green efforts. The city has also installed more energy-efficient lighting in its downtown, and it received the first ever permit to construct and operate an air curtain incinerator that cleanly burns yard waste.  

Tucked away in Iowa’s southwest corner, Shenandoah is proof that the smallest towns can be the most innovative. It’s investing in energy that’s green. Literally.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus on sustainable communities.

This town of less than 6,000 people is looking to produce fuel from algae – organisms otherwise seen as a nuisance while growing on ponds or lakes.

Thanks to a $2.1 million grant from the Iowa Power Fund, the town is experimenting with turning algae into fuel at Green Plains ethanol plant.

Algae grow much faster than traditional crops. And unlike corn or soybeans, they can grow in tanks instead of on farmland.

More importantly, homegrown algae burn much cleaner than the oil we get from abroad.

But that’s not the only way Shenandoah is keeping Iowa green. To learn more, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

I’m Jerry Schnoor from the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research.

Thank you.

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