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We would like to thank the Rock County Conservationists for hosting the presentation today.


We enjoyed Mr. Hulsey's presentation on renewable energy options for Rock County with an emphasis on the energy potential of prairie grass and other forms of biomass.

He also breifly discussed manure digestors, a subject which interests the BPRC research nerd very much. Though they are costly to build, manure digestors actually solve environmental problems while creating energy. 

They capture methane, transform a problematic material into clean biomass which can be used in a number of ways, and most importantly, they keep nitrates out of our waterways. The fact that they generate electricity on top of that means the cost of creating manure digestors may be far less than it first appears. Wisconsin is in the perfect position to lead the way in promoting the only renewable energy source we know of that also takes care of other environmental problems as it works.

 After Mr. Hulsey's presentation we stayed for the RCC meeting and had the of pleasure finding ourselves in the presence of three people who shepherd Wisconsin's endangered ornate box turtle. (Read more about these turtles at the Wisconsin DNR site by clicking here) These volunteers provide a safe environment where the turtle eggs can hatch and the young turtles can have a chance to grow to a size that will help them be able to survive once they are returned to the wild.  jeweled.jpgSometimes pet stores try to sell these endangered creatures. The picture on the left is of an ornate box turtle rescued by the DNR from a petshop in Milwaukee. What happened to the turtle after that?  Click here to read about the Wildlife In Need Center 

We also learned of the outreach work of the Rock County Conservationists which includes grants for up to $250.00 per school for conservation related activities. They urged us to let any interested teachers know about this program.

 Attending this presentation was it was a great way to spend a March afternoon, and we are grateful to the RCC for making it possible. For more information about the Rock County Conservationist events and membership, send an email to lonerockprairienursery@gmail.com ornboxturt.jpg


Saturday, March 15th, 1pm, Beloit College

The Rock County Conservationists invite you to join them for their March 15th  program at Beloit College, as it welcomes Brett Hulsey, author of Cellulose Prairie, Biomass Fuel Potential in Wisconsin and the Midwest. (click here to download it) Come and learn what this emerging field of renewable biofuel energy could mean for Rock County. The program is free and open to the public, and will be on March 15th, from 1pm to 3pm, on the Beloit College campus, in the Richardson Auditorium, in the Morse-Ingersol Building, at the corner of Emerson and College streets.  

Biofuel is all around us in the base form of biomass. Wisconsin is blessed with a rich and diverse natural heritage that creates a lot of biomass annually. This rich natural heritage is expressed today in our scenic beauty, diverse natural areas, and agricultural wealth. Biomass sources include native tallgrass and prairie plants, crop residues and animal manures, grass clippings, invasive weed species and diseased trees in parks and natural areas, and methane recapture from landfills and waste water treatment facilities. The biomass and biofuel potential of Wisconsin and Rock County is enormous, with the state’s potential reaching 13,336,273 tons in excess biomass, 250-500 thousand tons of that coming from Rock County.

“Excess biomass like switchgrass, corn stover, wood waste, and manure are the convenient solutions to the ‘Inconvenient Truth’ of global warming. Investing in more biofuel purchase, pilot plants, business startups, and research could produce electricity and fuel and reduce the largest sources of greenhouse air pollutants in Wisconsin and America,” said Brett Hulsey, president Better Environmental Solutions, report author.

Burning biomass is a convenient, cost-effective solution to reduce global warming and extreme  climate changes. The U.S. EPA identified three main sources of U.S. greenhouse gases: burning  fossil fuels for electricity, burning petroleum fuels for transportation, and other sources like  agricultural fertilizer and tillage.  

Three near term, proven solutions are:   1.  Use energy more efficiently to save money;  2.  Burn biomass with or instead of coal for more renewable electricity, and   3.  Burn low carbon biofuels with or instead of gasoline and diesel in vehicles.

Wisconsin’s excess biomass, could produce 1.3 billion gallons of ethanol per year and displace 40% of the gasoline we consumed last year, in addition to Wisconsin’s 252 million gallons of current corn ethanol production.  This excess biomass could be burned to replace 15 million tons of coal, equivalent to 56% of Wisconsin’s total coal use.  Notably, these biomass materials are excess or surplus and can be harvested sustainably to maintain forest and soil health.

“With investments, Wisconsin can be a cellulose prairie and forest for bioenergy like Silicon Valley is for high technology,” said Hulsey. “We are well positioned because Wisconsin leads the nation now in converting wood to electricity. This is just one step away from cleaner biofuels like cellulosic ethanol.”

This is important because Wisconsin is also almost totally energy dependent, importing $18.5 billion of energy.  Two-thirds of this money leaves the state, resulting in a loss of $12 billion and 300,000 jobs.  Expanding biofuel production will reduce this job and income drain, and create better markets for Wisconsin’s agricultural and forest productions.

For more information on this report, contact author, Brett Hulsey, at Brett@BetterEnvironmentalSolutions.com, 608-238-6070.               


Date: Saturday, March 15th, 2008
Time: 1pm to 3pm
Place: Beloit College, Richardson Auditorium, Morse-Ingersol Building, at the corner of Emerson and College streets

Speaker:  Brett Hulsey, Author of Cellulose Prairie, Biomass Fuel Potential in Wisconsin and the Midwest

Note: The first half hour of the program will be the RCC annual meeting

Posted on Friday, March 14, 2008 at 07:14PM by Registered CommenterThe BPRC Research Nerd | Comments Off

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