Developing alternative energy sources for rural Nebraska—that’s the goal of a new project based at the Haskell Ag Lab near Concord in northeast Nebraska.
The project is called “Sustainable Energy Options for Rural Nebraska.” UNL irrigation specialist Bill Kranz is one of the researchers on the project. He says one of their efforts will involve ethanol-powered irrigation engines. Kranz notes that Nebraska has about 93-thousand active irrigation wells statewide with engines currently powered by diesel, electicity, natural gas or propane.
“The whole area depends on what might happen in the air quality arena,” Kranz says. “If EPA develops additional regulations on diesel and other engines, then ethanol may raise to the top a little bit, in terms of its use for this purpose.”
The project, which will also involve research on electrical generation systems powered by wind and solar energy, received a 500-thousand dollar federal grant. A groundbreaking ceremony for the project was held Thursday at the Haskell Ag Lab.