The town of Lyons in itself seems nothing out of the ordinary and seems like every other rural town except for one key person; Robert Byrnes. On January 31st, 2014, our studio visited Robert Byrnes, the owner of Nebraska Renewable Energy Systems located in Lyons where we met him. He held a lecture for our studio on renewable energies and the deployment and policy development of renewable energy production in Nebraska. One of the most interesting things we learned from Mr.Byrnes was the cost and commodities of fuel and food-grade products. Starting from fuel, Mr.Byrnes has been developing methods to produce fuels derived from renewable sources, however it has been hard to compete in volume and cost as the margins are much smaller than food-grade commodities. That is where Mr.Brynes has taken used grapes from Nebraskan wineries to produce Grape seed oil, a food-grade product with a much higher margin of profit.These processes taken place in a “small” disused pork packaging plant in Lyons, just off of main street. Mr.Brynes also has an office on main street which is powered by solar energy, and where he conducts many of his experiments.
In addition to utilizing the waste stream, he also powers his off grid farm through a combination of wind turbines and solar panels a short distance from the town of Lyons.