University of Minnesota-Morris makes every day Earth Day

Wind turbine: The wind turbine at the University of Minnesota's Renewable Energy Center/West Central Research and Outreach Center (Photo courtesy WCROC)

Researchers at the University of Minnesota-Morris are using a 230-foot tall wind turbine to generate electricity. The turbine produces half the power the campus uses. Right now, the University sells any extra power to the local power company. But in the near future, the extra energy could generate hydrogen, eventually powering cars, homes, and gadgets without the pollution that comes from burning fossil fuels.

Right now, we either extract hydrogen from fossil fuels, or pull it out of water (although it takes electricity to do that, and the electricity usually comes from burning fossil fuels). So, while using hydrogen can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, it can't eliminate it. Yet. But wind turbines like the one at the University mean we can create one renewable resource by using another one. It's clean power.

Using turbines to produce hydrogen also solves one of the big problems associated with wind power: they only generate power when the wind is blowing, which doesn't help with the power crunch on a hot, but calm, sunny day. Right now, there's no good way to "save up" the electricity that wind turbines generate. But hydrogen is storable.

(Other Minnesota researchers are investigating generating hydrogen using ethanol or solar power, or harvesting it from microbes.)

Cool, huh?

Read a Minnesota Public Radio story on the wind turbine.

For more on hydrogen power, go to the National Hydrogen Association website. Start with the FAQ page.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Sam's picture
Sam says:

I am proud to say that I went to school at the University of Minnesota - Morris!

posted on Sat, 04/23/2005 - 3:36pm
Malcolm Maxwell's picture
Malcolm Maxwell says:

I'd like to write a story about research toward a hydrogen economy for my small-town weekly. Doing a series of various alternatives in the energy field. Please come back to me and I will also try to reach you folks by phone to ask a myriad of questions.

posted on Tue, 11/08/2005 - 4:03pm
Christie Casey's picture
Christie Casey says:

I am also proud to be a UMM graduate. It's efforts such as this that make UMM one of the top places to get an education. Make a difference - make it Morris!

posted on Thu, 12/29/2005 - 6:22pm
Steve's picture
Steve says:

Way to go U of M Morris. I want to come visit sometime. You may be on the cusp of a huge breakthrough!

posted on Tue, 02/14/2006 - 8:31pm
Michelle (Shelby) Handlin's picture
Michelle (Shelby) Handlin says:

I am proud that my college is making a difference for future generations both in the classroom and in cutting edge energy research. University of Minnesota, Morris is inspiring!

posted on Tue, 04/10/2007 - 6:32am

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <h3> <h4> <em> <i> <strong> <b> <span> <ul> <ol> <li> <blockquote> <object> <embed> <param> <sub> <sup>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may embed videos from the following providers vimeo, youtube. Just add the video URL to your textarea in the place where you would like the video to appear, i.e. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw0jmvdh.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Images can be added to this post.

More information about formatting options