Bio-fuel furnace featured at Dudley Smith Day Nov. 10

URBANA—Putting bio-fuels such as miscanthus to use in a small-scale application furnace is one of the topics that will be featured at the upcoming Dudley Smith Day. The event will be from 9 a.m. to noon Friday, Nov. 10 followed by a lunch at the University of Illinois Extension Christian County Unit Office.

U of I researcher Stephen Long has been studying the elephant-size grass called miscanthus since 2002. He says that there is a lot of interest from Illinois farmers in growing miscanthus as a crop.

“Adoption, though, will depend on the creation of markets for such biomass,” Long said. Pellet burning stoves, purpose-built biomass heat and power plants, and cellulosic ethanol plants are the most likely markets to develop here in Illinois. Stoves burning pellets of miscanthus and switchgrass may prove a very cost-effective alternative to natural gas and other fossil fuels in heating farm houses and buildings. Indeed, with support from the Dudley Smith Initiative, we plan to provide the heat to the Taylorville Extension Office in exactly this way.”

Long will provide an update on his team’s research about bio-fuels at the Dudley Smith Day Nov. 10.

Researchers will present information and progress about other projects being funded by the Dudley Smith Initiative. Some of the presentations will include information about computer simulation of system models, groundwater quality management, and livestock grazing management.

Area middle schools and high schools that have received Dudley Smith Education grants will also report on their projects.

The Christian County Extension Unit Office is at 1120 N. Webster St. in Taylorville.

Registration is free and can be completed the morning of the event, however, advance registration before Nov. 7 is required to reserve a lunch. For more information and to register, visit and click on Today’s Events and use the calendar to locate Nov. 10 or contact Gary Letterly (217-287-7246;

From the Nov. 8-14, 2006, issue

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