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Sustainable Energy



Mizzou’s sustainable sensibility is growing from the top down, bottom up and in nooks and crannies all over campus.

Working at the grassroots level, students have helped shape Mizzou’s sustainability agenda, says Steve Burdic, sustainability coordinator at MU. Sustain Mizzou started in 2004 to work on education and local environmental action. Burdic also points to a top-down institutional commitment. For instance, Chancellor Brady J. Deaton created Burdic’s office in 2009 to foster sustainability across campus. That same year, a student sustainability office was formed to get students involved using funding from a sustainability fee that students pay. And in 2011, Mizzou released a Climate Action Plan outlining how it will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions during the coming years.

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Home of the future

MU researchers are working on the next generation of sustainable energy technology. Here’s a peek at how those innovations might change our homes in years to come.

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Fuel in the fields

In 1925, Henry Ford told The New York Times that a farmer could squeeze enough ethyl alcohol from an acre of potatoes in one year to power the machinery needed to cultivate the field for the next century.

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The fuel of civilization

A presidential appointment helps MU Chancellor Brady J. Deaton further his lifelong goal of feeding the hungry.

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Compression obsession

With the help of MU’s Bradford Research and Extension Center, a Columbia business has built a machine that transforms bulky biomass such as corn cobs and switch grass into tablets as dense as wood.

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Coal, wind, petroleum and Wood

During a career at engineering firm Black & Veatch, Ron Wood grappled with energy problems and solutions.

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Making nuclear clear

Dale Klein, former Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair, aims to clear the air about nuclear energy as a sustainable resource.

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Living thrifty

MU alumni raises awareness of excessive consumption with photographs of thrift shops in 39 states.

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Living with less

Medical resident Lincoln Sheets has pared down his personal possessions to about 100 items.

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Home green home

Six students take over one old house with a mission to use less and conserve more. Welcome to MU’s Sustainahouse.

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Cleaning up cotton

As a youngster, Scott Andrews picked cotton end-rows on his grandfather’s farm. For each pound, he earned about 3 cents — a good wage for a kid and good experience for a future cotton farmer.

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Plant-powered power plant

Churning up to 66 megawatts of electricity and 1.1 million pounds of steam per hour, MU's Power Plant is undoubtedly the hardest working facility on campus.

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Harvesting energy

Researchers across campus are investigating ways of turning plants into power

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Field reporting

For journalists, explaining how food is grown and why it matters means first understanding the science, then making it relevant.

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The mystery of Red Lake

Near Columbia lies a body of water whose acid-loving bacteria may eventually make biofuel cheaper for us all.