Lane County wants to turn straw into energy gold


Lane County partnered with the Oregon Department of Agriculture to analyze grass straw’s bioenergy potential.

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Lane County partnered with the Oregon Department of Agriculture to spend $350,000 on an analysis of grass straw’s bioenergy potential.

Now that field burning is tightly regulated, Willamette Valley farmers needed a new way to dispose of grass straw after fields went to seed.

“It was determined that a restriction on field burning would be more feasible if they could develop an alternative for farmers to get rid of the grass straw,” [program manager at the Lane Council of Governments, Milo] Mecham said.

So the county conducted a study on what the grass straw could be used for. The best uses were tied to bioenergy, they discovered. Potential uses included using the grass straw as feedstock for an anaerobic digester, which produces heat and gas that can be burned to make electricity. A digester could also produce waste that could be used as agricultural compost.

Read more at Sustainable Business Oregon.

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