The Iowa Farm Energy Working Group has awarded three demonstration grants for 2012 to Iowa farmers with small to mid-sized operations to demonstrate how they can reduce fossil fuel use and meet their energy needs through energy efficiency or the use of renewable resources from on their farms.
The University of Northern Iowa Center for Energy and Environmental Education (CEEE) facilitates the working group, which is funded by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University.
"These grants will help develop demonstration projects so other farmers can see firsthand how the technology works and learn about costs and suppliers," says Carole Yates, working group facilitator and a CEEE program manager. "Adopting technologies using on-farm resources for small and mid-sized farms offers many ways for farmers to reduce their energy use."
All recipients will present a demonstration of their projects later in 2012
Following is a description of the projects for 2012, which will take place on the three Iowa farms receiving this year's Iowa energy demonstration grants.
Jim Fitkin of Waterloo in northeast Iowa plans to make a biogas digester to heat a 30 x 72' high tunnel to extend his growing season in the spring and fall. He sells his produce (popcorn for this project) at local markets and other outlets. For on-farm resources, he will use waste from crops and animals to make biogas; use the biogas to heat the high tunnel; and put the compost left from the biogas back onto the hoop house soil.
Larry Reiling of Fairfield Farm, at Calmar in northeast Iowa, will design an automated stoker feed wood waste boiler system to heat storage trailers, a shop, and a wash facility for vegetables, potatoes and onions. Reiling will construct a boiler building, wood storage facility and install the boiler. The wood boiler heating system will use wood from the farm to reduce reliance on natural gas, propane and other heating means. The project will generate a complete bill of materials of purchase parts and a system manual to allow other Iowa farmers to replicate the idea.
Harn Soper of Soper Farms at Emmetsburg in northwest Iowa, will provide design/performance values for a CoolBot System to cool a vegetable building walk-in cooler. The project will evaluate the technical and financial feasibility of using a CoolBot system, "ground truth" the company's claim of reduced electricity use as a cooling system; and provide a design example and recommendations for any farmer interested in implementing a CoolBot system for vegetable cooling.
The Iowa Farm Energy Working Group includes representatives from agriculture, policy, higher education, utility and farm organizations plus others with an interest or expertise in meeting on-farm energy needs from energy efficiency and renewable resources available on the farm. For more information, contact Yates at [email protected].