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Archive for Monday, November 14, 2011

New energy

Plans to study the potential for renewable energy production at the former Farmland Industries site is a positive step for future development.

November 14, 2011

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Good things are happening at the Farmland Industries site.

The property along Kansas Highway 10 on Lawrence’s eastern border is an eyesore. Fertilizer was manufactured on the site for nearly 50 years until Farmland closed its plant in 2001, leaving behind contaminated land and groundwater. The property currently is getting an environmental cleanup, paid for with funds from an $8.6 million trust.

Last week, it was announced that federal agencies will spend $35,000 to study whether the former Farmland Industries site could one day support the production of renewable energy.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced it would pay the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Laboratory to evaluate the potential for putting some kind of renewable energy production on the empty Farmland site. The study will determine what alternative would work best with potential industry and business, such as geothermal, solar, wind or bioenergy, said Matt Bond, the city’s project manager for the Farmland cleanup.

The EPA also wants to explore producing alternative energy from plant-based materials, such as a biopower facility or a biorefinery.

Eileen Horn, the sustainability coordinator for the city and Douglas County who applied for the federal program, said now is the time to start “day-dreaming” about what makes sense for renewable energy at the Farmland site.

Such a development certainly would fit with goals set by the Lawrence City Commission in August when it hired a consultant to formulate a master plan for the 450-acre site, 300 acres of which is cleaned up and ready for development. Commissioners said they hoped that would include plans for a “green-energy business park.” An alternative energy source for firms locating in the park could be an attractive marketing point for potential businesses.

It’s been a decade since Farmland Industries closed. Turning the property around has been a slow process, but it’s good to see some positive activity at the site.

Comments

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 5 months ago

Who would want to locate on or near the property with out easy access to I-70. What BS...study green things when greenies are the ones keeping the site from being used for any kind of industry.

Might as well throw that 35K off the top of the Oread, would get about the same mileage from it.

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 5 months ago

Maybe some big-time donor to the current regime can score a few hundred million dollars of Uncle Sugar's money to whizz away on a green project located at Farmland.

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headdoctor 2 years, 5 months ago

It would be nice to see the land used for a good purpose. Unfortunately, when I hear the word green, bio-power, or bio-refinery my brain shuts down. Nothing personal. Just a natural protective reflex. The same thing happens when I hear the word organic mentioned on a label or in an advertisement. I have an extreme allergy to BS. Most of these grand newer technologies are not that green, do not save jack on natural resources and are generally 3 times the price it should cost.

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Les Blevins 2 years, 5 months ago

This article states; "The EPA wants to explore producing alternative energy from plant-based materials, such as a biopower facility or a biorefinery" and it would seem the EPA or DOA might be a good source of project funding and it would seem to me producing biorefinery technology on the premises could be a way to use the locality as an industrial manufacturing location again. Problem is it probably makes far too much common sense for the local leaders to get their minds around and where would the next cutting edge, high tech biorefinery technology come from that could be replicated? If Lawrence leaders could find such it might become the biggest new industrial product breakthrough for Kansas since the aircraft industry began, and Lawrence could perhaps become a central location in the expanding alternative and renewable energy product field as well as for greeting cards and pet food.

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