Ohio First Lady Frances Strickland witnessed the dedication of a renewable energy pilot plant and learned about first-class research on plant genetics, influenza viruses and green industrial products during her first visit to the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center's Wooster campus Dec. 14.
Strickland took part in the unveiling of quasar energy group's (formerly Schmack BioEnergy) biogas plant on OARDC's campus. OARDC and quasar have partnered to optimize technologies for the conversion of agricultural and municipal waste to energy via anaerobic digesters. The facility is expected to process 40-50 tons of waste per day and produce 400 kilowatts of electricity — enough to supply one third of the campus' energy needs.
"When you visit OARDC and see all of the important and innovative research and experimentation that goes on there, including the launching of a methane gas digester, you feel good about Ohio's position in the world," Strickland said. "It was also impressive to see all of the local leaders who had come together with private business to make something great happen for the community and the state."
During her daylong tour of the campus, Strickland was accompanied by Bobby Moser, dean of Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental (of which OARDC is the research arm); OARDC Director Steve Slack; and OARDC associate directors David Benfield and Bill Ravlin.
"We were very pleased to host First Lady Frances Strickland," Slack said. "This was an opportunity to have her visit with faculty and to see projects in action from honeybees and the Secrest Arboretum to alternative energy programs and the Molecular and Cellular Imaging Center. Her interest level in these programs and how they impact the state of Ohio was exceptional.