Note: Over the next few weeks we’ll be reporting on advances in expanding the family farm with the concept of adding alternative and renewable energy into the equation. From bio-diesel and biogas to online cooperatives for locally grown food to producing and manufacturing different resources for heat.
SEBEWAING – The economy is on everyone’s mind and job loss is becoming an everyday event. But a group of local concerned citizens are working together to bring hope, maybe jobs and be the first in the area to make the future brighter and economically healthy. On Thursday, Oct. 23, about 75 citizens and community leaders met at the Unionville Sebewaing Area High School for an informative alternative energy meeting with guest speaker and SVSU Department of Mechanical Engineering Dr. Chris Schilling.

Schilling, who spent a week in Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark this past summer, made a presentation about different renewable energy resources that could thrive in Huron County.

“I saw large and small manufacturers of shiny, modern equipment to make biomass pellets and briquettes,” he said. “I saw many companies manufacturing attractive looking furnaces and fuel storage bins for these biofuels.”

He explained how some companies service and install furnaces for homes and businesses, while others manage fleets of biomass fuel delivery trucks, some advice landowners on how to cultivate the right native grass to match the local soil type and local climate, the right native grass to make fuel pellets or briquettes that’ll sell in local markets.

“I noticed the Swedish countryside looks much like the Saginaw Valley and Huron County with green farm fields, windbreak trees in the distance,” he said. “It seemed many people had jobs related to some aspect of farm-based renewable energy… the farms were smaller, and it seemed they all had a windmill or two.”

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