Researcher: Fast-growing weed could heat homes

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) - Many northern Michigan residents consider reed canary grass a noxious weed. Researchers at Lake

Superior State University are testing its usefulness as a renewable heating fuel. Gregory Zimmerman heads the biology department at the Sault Ste. Marie school and says he sees potential in canary grass as a practical alternative to propane and other fossil fuels.

Reed canary grass is fast-growing and abundant in the eastern Upper Peninsula. Zimmerman and student assistant Justin Wilson tried several recipes to find which additives would give the grass pellets characteristics like wood pellets. They found that spent brewer's grain from Tahquamenon Brewery and fryer grease from a university cafeteria were good additives.