K-State Research and Extension
Resources for Renewable Energy

Could Wood Fuel be a Viable Alternative Energy Resource?

The use of wood pellets to fuel boilers is not a new concept. In fact, the Frito Lay plant in Topeka has recently constructed  to a wood fueled energy production system to power their industrial facility. Is there fuel in Kansas enough to support wood pellet or wood fired energy production? Larry Biles at the Kansas Forestry Service believes there is. In a recent assessment of wood resources in Kansas, there is evidence that thousands of tons of wood go to waste each year in Kansas.  The Kansas Forestry Service is currently working with Extension and the KSU Center for Engagement and Community Development to explore wood fired alternatives. More information on the Wood Fuels Initiative in Kansas is available under the Renewable Energy Tab to the left.


New Curriculum Resource for Extension Educators

A series of curriculum tools and resources have been created for Extension Educators to help them better support communities and clients interested in expanding the development of renewable energy. Developed by Extension Educators across the North Central United States, the curriculum can be accessed and utilized by Extension Educators who are working with community coalitions or groups interested in energy development. 

Our introductory series contains four modules that present core topics and key concepts surrounding bioenergy generation and environmental sustainability. Further exploration is given to bioenergy crop production and harvesting, water resource issues and opportunities, and community economic development.

BIOEN1: Introduction to Bioenergy

  • Unit 1 – Background
  • Unit 2 – Bioenergy Products, Feedstocks, Co-Products & By-Products
  • Unit 3 – Economic, Social & Environmental Impacts of Bioenergy
  • Unit 4 – Challenges & Barriers to Bioenergy Development
  • Unit 5 – Important Sources of Information

BIOEN2: Bioenergy Crop Production & Harvesting

  • Unit 1 – Analyzing the Economics of Bioenergy Crop Production
  • Unit 2 – Bioenergy Crop Production: A crop by crop analysis
  • Unit 3 – Best Management Practices on Agricultural Land for Soil & Water Conservation

BIOEN3: Water Resources: Issues & Opportunities

  • Unit 1 – Introduction
  • Unit 2 – Watershed Level Impacts: Managing conversion to bioenergy crops
  • Unit 3 – Bioenergy Crop Impacts on Water Quality & Quantity
  • Unit 4 – Policy Options & Implications

BIOEN4: Community Economic Development

  • Unit 1 – Community Preparedness: Understanding the issues & opportunities associated with bioenergy development
  • Unit 2 – Case Study Analysis
  • Unit 3 – The Educator’s Role as Facilitator: Asking the right questions
  • Unit 4 – Community Economic Development Issues



A key role of Extension professionals is to help citizens make informed decisions, whether on the subject of spring planting or longer-term land contracts for energy production. Energy production is not new to many Kansas farmers, as many have a history of oil and gas well management.  You can find helpful resources for leasing and easements through a Minnesota-based program called Windustry.



Renewable Energy Webcasts

Now available through eXtension!

Community Development>Russell KS ethanol plant

 Extension Professionals wanting more information to assist with identifying and answering important questions regarding wind, Biofuels, and renewable energy work

can access information at the Farm Energy Webcast Series .You will find current information and resources on WIND energy, BIO-Fuels, and Renewable Energy. This is a service of eXtension.




Wind Energy Discussion Forum:

The purpose of this forum is to facilitate a new level of discussion and peer communication on all facets of wind energy. Wind Energy Discussion Forum
Forum Manager: Cole Gustafson cole.gustafson@ndsu.edu


 NEWS on the WIND

ACORE Hosts Kansas Renewable Energy Event :

 New research from the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) concludes that Kansas has the potential to generate over 20 gigawatts of renewable power. "The potential economic benefits total billions of dollars" ... Read the ACORE summary of Kansas renewable energy potential   View the ACORE Energy for Kansas presentation


Considering wind energy projects for community investment:  Current updates through WINDUSTRY highlight COMMUNITY WIND projects 

  Xcel Energy Installs Battery to Store Wind Power NaS Battery - Courtesy of USA Today This spring Xcel Energy will be the first in the US to use a commercial scale sodium-sulfur battery as direct storage for wind-generated energy. The battery, which was built in Japan, will be used to store energy generated from wind at the Minwind facility in southwest Minnesota. Xcel Energy believes this technology will address some of the concerns with the variability of wind and limited predictability of wind-energy generation.
The batteries will be used to power nearby homes when there is not enough wind to power the turbines. In addition, as more turbines are installed there may be times when the grid cannot handle all of the energy that is generated. The batteries will be used to store that extra generation which will prevent the need to shut down some of the turbines. The batteries may prove to be especially helpful in the summer months when they can re-charge at night and provide extra energy to the grid during the day when air conditioners are running.
The battery is the size of two semi trailer trucks stacked on top of each other and weighs 80 tons. It can store 7.2 megawatt-hours of energy and when fully charged, the battery can power about 500 homes for approximately 7 hours. Read the Star Tribune article or listen to the interview with Xcel Energy's Frank Novachek on Minnesota Public Radio.


 Kansas Energy Information Sites

KSU Center for Sustainable Energy provides information and resources about sustainable energy efforts at KSU.

KSU Engineering Extensionprovides resources and information from K-State.

community development>renewable energy2Kansas Corporation Commission is an important source of Kansas energy information.

The US Department of Energy has many helpful resources on energy development in Kansas.

The Kansas Department of Commerce has county by county information on wind potential, location of transmission lines, and other helpful information in their "Community Wind Tool Kit".

The Kansas Wind Application Center  is a partnership between KSU and The Kansas Rural Center.  Visit this site for information on the WIND FOR SCHOOLS program.  

Climate and Energy is a project working in Kansas to increase renewable energy resources. This site is stocked with helpful information and fact sheets including: