Ag researchers test hay as alternative fuel -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Ag researchers test hay as alternative fuel

February 19, 2003

Moultrie - Hay doesn't just provide energy for livestock. One day it may help provide energy for your home.

Researchers in Moultrie hope hay will supplement coal used in power plants, producing electricity with less harmful emissions. They are testing a machine which finely grinds hay, binds it with lime and presses the mixture into cubes ready to be burned.

"We're looking at it as an alternative fuel to provide a renewable energy option for our customers," Doug Boylan with the Southern Company said.

Should this process become feasible, Georgia Power customers will not be the only ones who will benefit.

Sunbelt Ag Expo Executive Director Chip Blalock said, "If this proves to be a project that we can start commercially producing Bermuda grass cubes to burn in power plants, it will create a whole new market for Bermuda grass hay."

The researchers say we need new alternative power sources in the South because solar and wind powered plants aren't economical here. In a few weeks, the program will move to Plant Mitchell in Dougherty County so researchers can test how well the hay will actually help produce electricity.

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