22 Feb '12, 1pm

What Oat Hulls Can Teach Us About Tapping Employees' Innovation

What Oat Hulls Can Teach Us About Tapping Employees' Innovation

In my One Great Idea presentation for the GreenBiz SF Forum last month, I stressed the value of tapping employees for sustainability innovations. This article takes a look at one man's idea that was held for 20 years until the time was right to act on it. John Hellweg just retired from General Mills . Prior to his retirement, he fulfilled a dream he first envisioned 20 years prior: to convert oat hulls into biomass energy. When oats are milled into oat flour, about one-third of every oat kernel is left over as a hull. The oat hulls are a by-product and have non-energy related uses: For example, General Mills for many years earned a small amount of revenue by selling them to a chemical plant in Omaha, Nebraska where they were converted into a specific chemical for resin. However, oat hulls are bulky cargo, meaning that transportation costs from the mill in Minneapolis to th...

Full article: http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2012/02/22/what-oat-hulls-ca...

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