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Farming Town Experiments to Become Energy Independent

In the middle of record high prices for gasoline and heating fuels, one small American town is looking to become the first to run entirely on alternative fuel sources.

Reynolds, Indiana is a small town in the Midwestern United States, boasting a population of just 550. But this tiny town is the focus of a state-run program, dubbed "Biotown USA", aiming to provide power from agricultural-based fuel.

There are three parts to the program. First, the production of biofuel, or E-85, which is 85 percent ethanol. The second and third phases involve converting animal waste into electricity and natural gas.

The state is working with General Motors to convert residents' cars so they can use E-85. The fuel would eventually replace the regular gasoline in local fuel stations. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is optimistic the program will take-off.

"We think it will be manageable because we think that there will be a lot of people, like GM, who want to help us discover how this can occur," said the governor.

Located in a rural county, Reynolds has plenty of livestock to provide animal waste that can be converted into electricity and natural gas. State officials have yet to put a price on the project, but say it will be manageable. The entire program may be completed in just over two years.

"This is not Indiana's first biotown -- this is America's first biotown in the making, said Governor Daniels. “We're going to put Reynolds on the map for all of America to see."

Residents are intrigued by the idea, but understand the program is still in its infancy.

Resident Tom Parsley said, "Seems to be a lot of interest in this community for this project and I do think there are many questions yet to be answered."

The Biotown USA project is managed locally by a task force of elected leaders.