Indiana group prepares to launch — literally — broadband-by-blimp project

Happy Monday, readers. Today’s tech headlines begin with a blimp broadband project that promises to transform Internet of Things-powered agtech and advanced manufacturing in 10 Indiana counties. The Wabash Heartland Innovation Network, a 10-county consortium that works to advance IoT technologies, plans to launch an aerostat, similar to a blimp, to provide broadband access in rural areas.

  • It’s reportedly the first telecom blimp deployed in the United States to enable high-speed commercial internet. From 1,500 to 2,500 feet in the air, it’s expected to provide a better direct path for transmissions than towers on the ground.
  • The technology will allow millions of messages per day to flow through agricultural and advanced manufacturing IoT sensors located throughout the 10-county region.
  • The aerostat will be stationed at an RTO Wireless site in West Lafayette, Indiana. It’s expected to help boost agricultural production, improve sustainability, and cut costs.

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Today’s headlines:

🌱 AGRICULTURE: A Minnesota agtech startup is testing technology that could make nitrogen fertilizer for farmers using only air and water, rather than the traditional process that requires natural gas, reports the Star Tribune.

🛢️ BIOFUELS: Gibson City, Illinois-based plant genetics company GDM is partnering with Yield10 Bioscience on research to improve soybean crop yields and sustainability, reports Biofuels Digest.

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🌬️ RENEWABLES: A Wayne State University researcher has received a U.S. Department of Energy grant to develop efficient catalysts for renewable energy generation and storage.

Eranda Nikolla, professor of chemical engineering at WSU, received a grant for developing efficient electrochemical systems for energy generation and storage. Photo via Wayne State University.

🔌 POWER PLANTS: Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis are developing and testing components for a nearly zero-emission power plant. The prototype technology aims to allow a coal-burning plant to emit almost no carbon and fill-in for wind and solar energy when they’re not available.

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