USDA’s Beltsville Agricultural research center is doing a feasibility study on construction of a 1- to 2-megawatt research and development gasification facility to generate electricity and steam for the facility’s labs, offices and farm buildings. The unit would use a variety of feedstocks.

Researchers are growing poplar trees and switchgrass to study the plants’ ability to use excess nutrients from animal manure, add carbon to the soil, and provide feedstocks for bioenergy. The idea is for the 6,500-acre research facility to demonstrate the use of wastes as “opportunity fuels,” using whatever farm products are in excess or available at the time fuel is needed. Eventually, you’ll be able to apply some of these things to your farming operation.