West Central Research and Outreach Center - Morris, MN

West Central Research and Outreach Center
46352 State Hwy 329
Morris, MN 56267
Map to the WCROC (Google Map)

Phone: 320-589-1711
Fax: 320-589-4870

Renewable Energy

WCROC-re-wind turbine-homeRenewable energy holds great potential; energy sources such as wind, sun, biofuels and biomass promise a significant boost to our economy while promoting an energy alternative that minimizes our impact on the environment.  The primary goal of the Renewable Energy program at the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) is to increase utilization of renewable energy in production agriculture and support further development of agriculture-based renewable energy for the region, state, and nation through research and outreach.

Improving Energy Use in Agricultural Production Systems

Production agriculture's consumption of fossil-fuel carries significant economic, environmental, and ecological risks. The Renewable Energy program is working to mitigate these risks and exploit opportunities for agricultural producers and other stakeholders by means of researching energy systems for:

Renewable Energy Systems

Research is conducted on several types of large and small-scale renewable energy systems at the WCROC.  Systems located on-site include a 1.65 MW wind turbine, solar thermal systems for domestic hot water and space cooling and heating, a geothermal system, and a renewable hydrogen and ammonia pilot plant.  The WCROC also conducts biomass energy research utilizing the biomass gasification combined heat and power system located at the University of Minnesota, Morris campus. 

One aspect of our research includes a Life Cycle Assessment of these energy systems, as well as agriculture production systems.

The wind, solar and geothermal energy systems installed at the WCROC are practical production systems that also provide research and demonstration opportunities.  WCROC researchers experience first-hand issues with renewable energy, and seek solutions to break down technical and economic barriers. 



Michael Reese, Director, Renewable Energy

Rob Gardner, Assistant Professor

Eric Buchanan, Scientist

Joel Tallaksen, Scientist 

Cory Marquart, Jr. Scientist

Kirsten Sharpe, Jr. Scientist

Renewable Energy Research at the WCROC

What's New

  • "The Green Nutrient Revolution - Development of Renewable and Sustainable Fertilizers" was one of 12 projects selected for funding as part of the MnDRIVE initiative.
  • Two renewable energy projects will receive LCCMR funding, thanks to the 2014 MN Legislature
  •  Installation of renewable energy systems in the WCROC Dairy milking parlor and swine housing facilities
  • Save the Date: Midwest Farm Energy Conference, June 17-19, 2015

Fertilizer from the Wind, as featured on the BigTen Network, January 2014

Related Links


Projects (past and present)




Request a Tour of WCROC Renewable Energy systems, by contacting the Renewable Energy Director