Rural economy boosted by farm-based biomass plants

Researchers at University of Missouri have found that creating a bioenergy grid with small farm-based biomass plants could benefit people in rural areas as well as provide relief to an overworked national power grid.

The researchers say that bioenergy is becoming an increasingly popular source of renewable energy, as the technology has advanced enough to allow biomass plants small enough to fit on a farm to be built at relatively low costs.

“Transporting power through power lines to remote, rural areas is very inefficient and can be expensive for farmers and other rural citizens,” said Tom Johnson, Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics in the MU College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources.

“Farmers already have access to a large amount of biomass material left over each year after harvests. If they had access to small biomass power plants, they could become close to self-sustaining in terms of power.”

He added: “If the grid was improved enough, they could even provide additional power to other people around the country, helping to stabilize the national power grid. This could help save rural citizens money and be a boon for rural economies.”

Michael Bennett of specialist environmental PR and communications consultancy Pelican said: “Whilst the USA is very different from the UK the principle is still the same. Bioenergy clearly has great potential to benefit Britain?s rural community.”

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