#1: NON-SLIP SORGHUM
With the heat at this time of year, it's hard to think about winter. For those in wintry environs, however, there is something going on that is pretty amazing. For those of you in cold climates, the sound of the salt truck in the winter are all too familiar. But in an effort to create an environmentally friendly alternative, bioprocessing engineers from University of Nebraska's Industrial Agriculture Products Center developed a process to convert sorghum into an organic salt.
Dr. Qi Fang and Dr. Milford Hanna found that by grinding sorghum berries and hydrolyzing the starch, the resulting organic acid can be turned into a de-icing salt that leaves no byproducts. Dr. Fang estimates that more than 60 million bu of sorghum could be used to replace 10% of currently used de-icing products.
#2: CORNED HEAT!
There is nothing quite like the smell of grilled corn, especially when it could cut heating costs by nearly $2,000 a month. Corn growers are once more using their grain furnaces to heat their homes: one bushel of dried shelled corn kernels generates as much heat as 3.5 gallons of liquid propane. Thanks to work with Penn State University's extension service, Dennis Buffington, professor of agriculture and biological engineering, revived a practice common during the Depression. The grain furnaces can also burn wheat, rye, sorghum, and soybeans.