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 UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

October 20, 2011
Lana Fralich | Administrator | City of Silver Bay | 218-226-4408 |
Michael Mageau | Assistant Professor | UMD Department of Geography (Environmental Studies Program) | 218-726-6133 |mmageau
Cheryl Reitan | Interim Director | UMD Public Relations and Marketing | 218-726-8996 |

UMD and Silver Bay Launching Sustainability Project
Fish, plants, and algae will produce fuel and food

Creating jobs, producing fuel and food, and improving the environment is the focus of a partnership between the City of Silver Bay and UMD's Center for Sustainable Community Development (CSCD) to form VICTUS Farms, a project to construct a new facility that will house a self-contained food and energy generating eco-system made up of a greenhouse, fish tanks, and algae production areas.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the building construction will be held at 1:30 pm on Monday, October 24, 2011, in Silver Bay, Minn., at the Eco-Industrial Development Site just north of the Silver Bay traffic lights on Scenic Highway 61 (next to AmericInn).

VICTUS Farms' process uses waste products from growing fish to serve as a natural nutrient source for plants and algae that, in the end, will produce energy. "There are examples of groups bringing two components together for food or energy production but this is the first project that we know of in the world to incorporate three systems: fish, plants and algae," said Dr. Michael Mageau, assistant professor of environmental studies. Algae is a rich source of renewable energy. They are among the fastest growing plants in the world, and half their weight is oil — oil that can be used for fuel." The fish, produce, and algal oil generated by the system will be brought to market and sold for revenue.

"This project represents UMD's dedication to sustainability, to life-enhancing research, and to our commitment to work with our region's communities," said Lendley C. Black, UMD Chancellor. "Growing renewable fuel is an exciting step toward energy independence."

Through the partnership, approximately 1.2 million dollars has been raised to construct the 8,600-square-foot facility, currently under construction.

UMD's CSCD has spent three years assisting the City of Silver Bay to plan and to secure funding for the project. The CSCD will design, install and inoculate the production system in the first half of 2012. It will coordinate all process operations as well as on-going research and educational programs. In return, the CSCD will receive the revenues generated by the facility.

UMD and the City of Silver Bay Launch Sustainability Demonstration Project

Funding Support:
U of MN's NE Region Sustainable Development Partnership – 5K
MN Pollution Control Agency – 40K
Iron Range Resources – 262K+
MN State Legislature – 299K+
MN Dept. of Employment and Economic Development – 597K+
MN Lake Superior Coastal Program $30K
Total: $1,230,000+

Joining Mageau on the design team are David Abazs, farmer and senior fellow, Endowed Chair in Agriculture, Univ. of MN, Baylor Radke, recent UMD Environmental Studies Program graduate, and Andrew Klemer, UMD emeritus professor of biology.

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