2013 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater FOCUSS Idea Competition Sponsored by Alliant Energy

Watch Video of Competition Closing Remarks

The presidios campus of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (UW-Whitewater) was the site of the FOCUSS (Framework for Opportunity Convergence and the Utilization of Sustainable Solutions) Idea Competition, which was held on 6 March 2013.

Created to stimulate constructive thought surrounding concepts of innovation and discovery, the FOCUSS Idea Competition provided students a unique opportunity to share and cultivate creative solutions to a sponsoring corporation. Competition was open to all current UW-Whitewater College students. The corporate Sponsor of the competition was Alliant Energy.

Platform for Idea Competition

Guided by the FOCUSS Areas of Concentration, students (with the optional assistance of associated UW-Whitewater faculty advisor) proposed an idea that resolved the following problem statement submitted by Alliant Energy:

SCENARIO:  Marketing for Dry Scrubber/Baghouse Solids
As part of Alliant Energy’s environmental emissions control strategy, several coal fired power plants will be adding Baghouse/Carbon injection and Dry scrubber systems.  These emission control systems will reduce mercury (Hg) and sulfur dioxide (SO2).  They will also provide the additional benefits of capturing fine particulate matter and reducing sulfuric acid mist.  As a result of this, large volumes of dry scrubber solids will be generated.  Alliant would like to find a beneficial use for this by-product and market it. This would further benefit our environment to find a use for the by-product as opposed to disposal in a landfill.

Determine what Beneficial Uses are available for the Emissions Control System By-Product Solids.

Determine the process and requirements for bringing the material to a commercial/agricultural use for Iowa and Wisconsin including:

  • Permits/approvals
  • Regulatory Agencies involved
  • Testing required
  • Timeline
  • Develop a marketing strategy for the byproduct
      • Potential Customers

        Sales Price

    Perform cost benefit analysis of your By-Product marketing strategy

      Selling By-Product vs. disposal at a Landfill (Utilize data in Table 1).

      Use both an on-site Landfill and Commercial Landfill Disposal costs

      Note that the By-Product could be marketed at a loss and still show a benefit over landfill disposal

    Table 1.



    Total Tons/Yr. Byproduct



    $/Ton Disposal

    $65 - Offsite

    $25 - Onsite

    Also see AE Dry Scrubber Solids Data Table.pdf

    Proposals were judged on the following criteria:

    • Innovative nature of the Idea
    • Creative nature of the presentation
    • Involvement of the University or business community
    • Potential impact of the Sustainable Solution
  • $1,000 First Place
  • $500 Second Place
  • $300 Third Place
  • Since 1868, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (UW-Whitewater) has provided an exceptional learning experience for its students and has been named one of the Top 100 Workplaces in southeastern Wisconsin.

    UW-Whitewater students continue to contribute to area communities by providing thousands of hours of volunteer time to help improve the lives of others, and are proud of their award-winning programs, student organizations and national championship football, men's wheelchair basketball and rugby teams.

    UW-Whitewater faculty, staff and students continue to excel in research and engagement with the region. Faculty and staff from all their colleges: Arts and Communication, Letters and Sciences, Education and Professional Studies, and Business and Economics continue to blend research and teaching. The joint project with the city of Whitewater known as Whitewater University Technology Park is just one of many examples of how the UW-Whitewater uses its expertise on campus to help the region.

    Alliant Energy Corporation is an energy holding company. Providing Midwest utility customers with safe and reliable electric and natural gas services is our top priority.

    Our corporate headquarters are located in Madison, Wisconsin. General offices are located in Cedar Rapids and Dubuque, Iowa; utility operation facilities are located in communities throughout our utility service territory in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

    Our utility operations provide electricity and natural gas to more than 1.4 million customers in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

    We currently have nearly 4,000 employees working across our service territory.

    Honesty and integrity have always been important to Alliant Energy, and we're proud to be a company that values ethical behavior.

    Alliant Energy Corporate stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker LNT.

    Leading the Idea Competition effort at Alliant Energy are:

    James P. Brummond - Judge
    As Regional Director of Generations Operations at Alliant Energy, JP is responsible for planning, directing, and implementing all activities in a safe and environmentally conscious manner, in order to continuously improve the competitive position and profitability of all plants in an assigned region. JP serves on the Advisory Board of UW-Madison Erdman Center for Operations and Technology Management and is a board member for the Wisconsin River Power Company.


    Anne Carter
    Anne serves as Director, Corporate Diversity and Inclusion at Alliant Energy and is responsible for providing vision and oversight for D&I strategy and initiatives. She is a member of the Diversity Committee for the Cedar Rapids Community School District, a former board member for National Church Residences and past treasurer for the Central Ohio Diversity Consortium. She has been involved in a variety of arts and diversity initiatives in the community. Anne is a graduate of Yale and an aspiring triathlete.


    Steve Jackson - Judge
    Steve has been involved with environmental programs at Alliant Energy for 17 years. Currently, as a Lead Environmental Specialist, he performs analysis of emerging rules and requirements and develops strategic plans to effectively meet these requirements. He enjoys being politically active in his community but his passion is playing soccer, which he has been doing for over 40 years. Steve graduated from the University of Wyoming with a degree in Geology.


    Nichol Toomire - Resource Person for Contestants,  nicholtoomire@alliantenergy.com
    Nichol is the Plant Manager of Alliant Energy’s Ottumwa Generating Station. She is responsible for planning, directing and implementing all plant activities in a safe and environmentally conscious manner, with a keen focus on continuously improving competitive position and profitability. Outside of the plant she serves on the board of the United Way of Wapello County and is a member of the Ottumwa Community School Board Advisory Committee.