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Switching to Switchgrass

It started as a "wild" idea. Taking switchgrass, a wild grass that once grew all across southern Iowa, and turning it into a cash crop. Switchgrass is fast-growing and clean-burning which makes it an ideal candidate for cofiring. Cofiring is a process that burns energy crops, like switchgrass, with coal to support renewable power production. Cofiring with energy crops reduces our reliance on fossil fuels and helps cut down on emissions.

In 1999, a group of Iowa farmers teamed up with the Chariton Valley RC&D to form the Chariton Valley Biomass Project. Their goal was to grow enough switchgrass to produce 35 MW of power in a cofiring operation at the Alliant Energy Ottumwa Generating Station. The first cofire conducted in 2000 was a huge success and the group is now looking forward to making the process permanent. The Chariton Valley Biomass Project is committed to researching and developing new ways to get the most out of this cash crop!