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arrow1.gif (893 bytes) Time Line - 1982: City Of Moorhead Press Release...

The following is a press release that was issued on February 3, 1982 by Mayor Morris Lanning of Moorhead Minnesota. Although this press release was loaded with good intentions and was very inspirational, the Mayor needed to achieve his admirable goals by working through local businessmen. Unfortunately this did not work out (see Challenges).


Moorhead and the Captive Column -- From the Office of the Mayor

Today could possibly mark the dawn of a new era in public-private partnerships designed to revitalize industry in America. Today could also very well mark the dawn of a new era for economic development in the City of Moorhead. What we are announcing today is a modest, but very significant beginning of the public sector of our economy working together with the private sector in order to develop a revolutionary new technology.

Every day in America, someone creates a new invention. With great regularity, people announce that they have created a new "widget" or developed a better way of building some old "contraption." Rarely, however, does an invention come along that has the potential of completely changing the ways in which we build countless different products. And even more rarely do we see an invention that can be built in many different ways, using just about any kind of material. The Captive Column is this kind of rare invention. It is a simple concept with a very powerful potential.

The man who created the Captive Column is Larry Bosch, a native North Dakotan now living in Fargo. For over two years, we have been working with Mr. Bosch in exploring ways and means by which the public (non-profit)sector might work cooperatively with the private sector in developing the new technology.

Why should the City of Moorhead be interested in seeing a new technology developed?

There are basically three reasons for our interest and involvement. First of all, the public sector has a responsibility to create an environment whereby new technologies can flourish. In order for us to have real economic growth in our nation, government must insure a free and open competitive marketplace which can enable new technologies to be developed. Unfortunately, in some ways our existing industrial infrastructure makes it difficult for a private citizen to see his/her invention really reach its full potential.

Government cannot and should not manufacture the Captive Column or any other new technology, but government can and should create an environment where new technology might be able to take hold, and government can and should help demonstrate the applicability of new technologies.

Secondly, the number one priority for our city is economic development. We want to attract and retain people and jobs in our community. The manufacture of Captive Column products has great potential for creating jobs and business development in the City of Moorhead. In our economically troubled times, the possible expansion of existing industries into our community is difficult. Therefore, if we have the opportunity to help a new industry develop, we stand a far better chance of providing economic development for our community.

The third reason for our city's interest and involvement is that our community has consistently exhibited a progressive spirit. We have always been interested in finding new ways of meeting community needs and solving community problems. We have had a long history of undertaking new and innovative demonstration projects which not only meet a community need, but also help to show others that there are different ways of doing things. A couple of prime examples are our Urban Renewal Program, our new Wastewater Treatment Plant, the District Heating System, and resource recovery from the incineration of solid waste.

In this time of declining financial resources, there is perhaps a special need for us to become even more interested in exploring demonstration projects which not only have the potential of saving us money, but also have the potential of fostering economic growth.

Given these considerations, what are we planning to do?

First of all, we have decided to use the Captive Column in building a self-supporting windmill tower which will generate supplemental electrical power. This light-weight but very strong windmill tower will be 45' high, and it will be installed at our new Village Green Golf Course. Each month, we expect to be able to generate about 1000 kilowatt hours of supplemental electrical energy to be used for our public facilities. The Federal Government's Department of Energy has awarded us a $10,000 grant for the purpose of constructing this demonstration project.

Given the fact that we have the highest average daily wind speed of any metropolitan area in the United States, there is perhaps no better place to demonstrate the use of wind energy. I am very interested in seeing us explore the possibility of other wind energy demonstration projects which might help us reduce operating costs. In particular, I would like to see us explore the possibility of using the Captive Column to build a large Polyturbine wind generator which might provide energy for operating a large electrolizer. This electrolizer would take water and separate the oxygen and hydrogen molecules. Pure oxygen could be used in the operation of our new Wastewater Treatment Plant, and the hydrogen could be used to power our buses.

The second demonstration project we are announcing today, is the construction of a 45' Captive Column pedestrian bridge. This light-weight but very strong bridge will be built to span a water pond at the golf course. The city has made a commitment to spend up to $3,000 for the construction of this demonstration project.

Once we have constructed and installed this bridge, I am very interested in having us pursue the possibility of building other much needed pedestrian- bicycle bridges. Other possible locations are an additional bridge or two across the Red River, a bridge across First Avenue North at the downtown underpass, and a bridge across the Interstate Highway. It is quite possible that the City of Moorhead could raise the necessary grant money for the construction of these bridges, meaning that they could perhaps be meeting our needs at little or no cost to the local taxpayer.

Construction of these two demonstration projects will begin as soon as possible.

Another unique feature of our announcement today, is the fact that these projects will be built by the students at the Moorhead Area Vocational Technical Institute. Mr. Oscar Bergos, Director of the MAVTI, and Mr. Bud Bystrom, Instructor, will be supervising the construction of these two projects. For more than a year, we have been working cooperatively with Tech School officials in exploring ways and means whereby we might be able to work together in helping the development of this new technology.

Mr. Bergos and I have also been working closely with the officials from the University of North Dakota School of Engineering. As has already been announced, for the past year the University of North Dakota School of Engineering has been conducting research on the Captive Column. All of us believe that the Captive Column has great potential. We also believe that public-private partnerships may be crucial to the development of this technology. Therefore, we are continuing our efforts to forge new public- private partnerships which may encourage investment in this technology.

I would like to close this announcement by quoting Harlan Cleveland, the Director of the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Last year at a conference entitled "Industry Vitalization: Toward a National Industrial Policy," Cleveland posed for us some very provocative questions. He said:

"The industries that become our 'leading economic sector' for the 1980's and the 1990's will become obvious one way or another. First, should this happen by planning, by consensus, or by accident? Second, how should public policy operate to channel investment into the leading sectors and away from the shrinking sectors? How do we as a nation make sure that we do not--by design or by neglect--feed our problems and starve our opportunities?"

The Captive Column offers our nation and our city a golden opportunity for industrial vitalization. It is my hope that what we announce here today will serve as the model for how public policy can in fact create an environment which will nourish, not starve, the opportunities afforded by the development of this new technology.


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Copyright 1998-2004 by Lawrence R. Bosch.