University of Iowa News Release
March 6, 2003
UI To Burn Oat Hulls For Economic, Environmental Benefit
Tests conducted at the University of Iowa power plant this fall and winter found that burning oat hulls in place of coal not only saves money, but is better for the environment. The university investigated the fuel option in a cooperative project with Quaker Foods & Beverages, a division of Pepsico.
Burning oat hulls at the UI power plant can reduce the amount of coal burned at the UI by as much as 30,000 tons each year says Ferman Milster, UI associate utility director. The arrangement should reduce the annual amount of new carbon dioxide produced by the power plant boiler by some 72,000 tons annually. Additionally, sulfur dioxide emissions from the boiler may be reduced by as much as 60 tons annually, because oat hulls have virtually no sulfur content. The cooperative project will save Quaker the cost of disposing of the oat hulls, which are a by-product of cereal production in Quaker's Cedar Rapids plant, and could save a significant amount of landfill space. Milster says the practice of burning oat hulls from Quaker began in January 2003.
"It's a very beneficial arrangement for everyone concerned," says Milster. "We had high hopes when we began our tests that the oat hulls would burn well. The tests exceeded our expectations."
This fall, the power plant conducted a 90-day test burn of a related product called resifil, which is produced at the Quaker facility. Resifil is the material remaining after oat hulls have been processed to make various chemical products. The test found that resifil can be burned efficiently, but subsequent tests of the "raw" oat hulls showed them to be an even better fuel for the UI plant. The Cedar Rapids facility produces far more raw oat hulls than resifil.
The power plant is currently conducting another test burn using a new system and new handling equipment to further refine and understand the oat hull burning process, Milster says.
SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.