Harnessing the Power in and above Iowa’s Fields
If all the 2.5 billion bushels of corn and soybeans produced in Iowa went to traditional food uses, Iowa farms would be growing a new crop - storage bins.
Converting Iowa corn and soybeans into ethanol and biodiesel has created a new customer for Iowa grain,
made the state Number 1 in both ethanol and biodiesel production and touched off one of the biggest economic booms in rural Iowa in generations. In fact, farmers have been ‘green’ before ‘green’ was cool. Ethanol and biodiesel plants have brought new, well paying jobs to rural America, spurred billions in economic development and have been a catalyst for our renewable energy future.
is a high-octane renewable fuel produced predominately from corn in the United States. E85 is the term used to describe fuel blends of up to 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Ten and a half million drivers already use E85 in the U.S. today. They use flex-fuel vehicles that can run on fuel made of any percentage of ethanol up to 85%. All major auto manufacturers offer flex-fuel vehicle options. And for good reason. Every 28 gallons of E85 purchased reduces our dependence on foreign oil by one barrel, helping to reduce our trade deficit by billions of dollars. All the while, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 46%, offsetting global warming.
is a clean-burning, biodegradable renewable fuel made primarily from soybean and animal fat. It has the highest energy content of all renewable fuels and poses minimal risk to water quality. It also does not contribute to sulfur dioxide emissions.
is made from plants and animals. It can be used for fuels, power production, and products that would otherwise be made from fossil fuels. Currently, it is made from several plants, including miscanthus, switchgrass, hemp, corn, poplar, willow and sugarcane. It reduces the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into our atmosphere and it reduces our dependence on foreign oil (right now, America relies on foreign countries for 58% of our energy), all the while helping our rural economies.
Farmers in Iowa and around the country continue to meet the challenge to produce enough grain for food and fuel
- with more than a billion bushels of grain to spare nationally. What’s more, growing our own energy at home keeps energy dollars fueling the larger American economy while enhancing national security and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
Iowa has also capitalized on its geography and high prevailing winds to harvest the newest and most bio-friendly energy crop yet - wind power.
Iowa is Number 2 in the generation of wind power (as of late 2009). Wind is the cleanest renewable energy. It produces no pollution, either in the air or the water and does not use or produce any hazardous substances. It reduces more than 1.5 million tons of cardon dioxide emissions annually. Turbines are most often and most effectively used in conjunction with agriculture and livestock. By hosting most of those giant wind turbines in their fields, Iowa farmers generate income (through leasing fees) while adding to the energy independence of Iowa and America. A 2-MW turbine (found here in Iowa) can produce more than 6 million kWh in a year-enough to power more than 560 households. The average U.S. household consumes about 10,000 kWh of electricity each year.