Power co-op tries burning switchgrass with coal

MAYSVILLE— An experiment is under way in Kentucky to determine whether a native Kentucky grass can be used to supplement fuel for power plants.

East Kentucky Power Cooperative mixed about 70 tons of processed switchgrass into coal feedstock Wednesday to fuel the E.A. Gilbert Generating unit for a demonstration at the Spurlock Station in Maysville.

The Ledger Independent in Maysville reports that officials with the co-op, the University of Kentucky and the Governor's Office of Agriculture Policy as well as three local switchgrass producers attended the demonstration.

East Kentucky Power President and CEO Bob Marshall says the co-op wants to see whether switchgrass will work as a supplemental fuel for power plants.

UK's College of Agriculture is conducting a four-year pilot project to determine whether switchgrass can be grown sustainably and economically in Kentucky. Forage specialists see it as a possible opportunity for producers to diversify and create additional revenue.