For a couple of years now the University of Iowa has been partnering with a nearby Quaker Oats plant to use the otherwise discarded oat hulls (the protective shell of the oat) as an environmentally friendly fuel source instead of burning coal. The oat hulls fuel 14% of the school’s total energy – equal to displacing the carbon emissions of 1,200 passenger cars and equivalent to powering 900 American homes. Not bad at all!
According to the university, some of the benefits of burning the oat hulls as biomass include:
- Burning 25% less coal and lower greenhouse gas emissions
- Saving the University over a million dollars in fuel savings since its inception in 2003
- Program resulted in the University of Iowa making the EPA Top 20 list of on-site green power users.
While it sure is convenient that the Quaker Oats plant is nearby, maybe this will inspire many other universities to look around for alternative sources of energy that they can easily access, saving both money and emissions!