I wasn’t the only one shooting video at the POET Project LIBERTY Field Day in Emmetsburg, IA. POET was too for POET TV. POET does a great job of using new media channels to communicate their activities. You can also learn more about the event by seeing their photos online and following along with their Project LIBERTY Blog.
In this video clip you’ll find:
Sitting inside a Claas Lexion 595 Combine as it goes through a corn field collecting corn and corn cobs. The cobs were carried in a Redekop H165 cob collection device towed behind the combine.
There were 16 different equipment manufacturers involved with POET’s Project LIBERTY Field Day. One of them was John Deere, represented by Dean Acheson, Manager, Solutions Development. Dean says that what they’re working on is completely customer based. He says they don’t want to be slowed down during harvest and they want to keep up a high level of productivity.
The prototype equipment they had on display was a one pass, two stream cob collection system. On the back of their combine they have a new prototype piece of equipment that allows the grain to follow a normal path and the cobs then flow out of an attachment on the back of the combine. He says the equipment allows you some flexibility in how you choose or handle what is being harvested. A wagon is pulled by a tractor alongside the combine to collect the cobs. They’re currently not endorsing the towing of equipment behind their combines but this is equipment that is in development for the future.
You can listen to my interview with Dean below and watch a video clip of their equipment in action.
I know I posted an interview I did with POET CEO Jeff Broin this week but I also recorded his speech to the attendees at their Project LIBERTY Field Day. I thought you would enjoy hearing what he has to say. He starts out pointing to the RFS as a huge opportunity for the ethanol industry and agriculture. He says that legislation is solid and “there’s no risk of that legislation going away.”
He says there is almost a billion tons of ag residue available as biomass to convert to ethanol. That’s the largest source of biomass available for this purpose. He says it’s a little known fact that “over the next 20 years ethanol can almost replace gasoline.” This can be attributed in part to the projected increases in corn yields in the next 10 years.
POET CEO Jeff Broin, seen here being interviewed in the field this morning, is glad for sunshine. At last year’s Project LIBERTY Field Day we had a wet one.
We watched several different equipment manufacturers display their latest products to handle collecting the corn cobs for use in cellulosic ethanol production. I’ve got video clips of them in action which I’ll be posting in coming days. In the meantime you can see photos in the photo album which I just updated.
Before we got started I interviewed Jeff about what we should expect. He emphasizes the importance of cellulosic ethanol production and what utilizing corn cobs as a biomass will mean to farmers and rural America. You can listen to my interview with Jeff below or watch the video:
A biodiesel plant that will make the green fuel from Wisconsin wood biomass is set for commissioning next week.
This article from Biomass Magazine says the Flambeau River BioFuel LLC’s project will be commissioned using Honeywell Process Solutions’ supplies and automation equipment for what has been called the largest second-generation green diesel plant in the United States. The pilot testing is being done at the Southern Research Institute facility in Durham, N.C.:
“We need to operate [the pilot facility] for 1,000 hours to meet the requirements for a DOE loan guarantee and we need to prove the mass energy balance to make sure we have a project,” [Bob Byrne, president of Flambeau River BioFuels LLC, Park Falls, Wis.] said. “We need to know the economics are there.” An earlier proposal to collocate a cellulosic ethanol plant next to the paper mill at Park Falls was dropped because the economics proved unfavorable as the study progressed. This time, the developers are utilizing gasification and Fischer Tropsch technologies to convert woody biomass into biomass-based diesel and waxes.
The pilot facility at Southern Research Institute will be using Wisconsin wood to fuel a biomass gasifier designed by ThermoChem Recovery International Inc., Baltimore, Md. The syngas produced in the gasifier will be formed into liquids and waxes using catalysts developed by Emerging Fuels Technology, Tulsa, Okla., in a FT reactor. The $257 million plant in the engineering phase for Park Falls will produce 18 MMgy of FT liquids and waxes from 350,000 dry tons of biomass per year, according to Byrne. Depending on the pressures and temperatures of the FT reactor and the activity level of the catalyst, the plant will produce up to 10 MMgy of FT waxes and 8 MMgy FT diesel or 9 MMgy of each. The plant will also be supplying steam to the adjacent paper mill.
Company officials say the wax and steam produced pays the bills, and the biodiesel gives them operating income.
We’ve certainly heard a lot about switchgrass as a biomass option for the production of ethanol. How many of you have seen it growing?
That’s it behind Cory Christensen, Director of Product Managment, Ceres, who was conducting Sunbelt Ag Expo presentations in the field. He says it’s a first season stand of their Blade energy crop. It was developed specifically for the southeast. Since it’s the first season for this crop they won’t harvest it at Sunbelt until next year. A mature yield for the crop is about 8 tons per acre of dry matter. By the second season next year it will be at 80 percent of maturity.
Switchgrass is native to the United States everywhere east of the Rockies. Ceres, has been working on varieties that will yield better in different growing environments though. Cory says that they don’t expect it to displace corn in Iowa but in the southeast with the difficulties in cotton and tobacco it becomes a viable alternative on open acres. He provides some estimates of what the crop can mean financially as the market for a fuel crop like switchgrass develops.
Cory describes the current market as a “developing market.” They have a map that shows developing opportunities where plants will be located to process energy crops. He says that biomass is a local business so you need to be located near a biorefinery. He also points to the USDA’s Biomass Crop Assistance Program that provides monetary assistance to facilitate the transition of eligible land to energy crops.
Two companies have formed an alliance to commercialize a patented process to economically and efficiently produce ethanol from cellulose feedstocks.
The ChemPro Group of New Jersey has joined with Mo-Fuel (Rural Bio-waste) of Sikeston, Missouri on the project. According to Steve Lavorerio, President of ChemPro, the process can handle a full spectrum of cellulosic feedstock, from wood chips and pulp-and-paper-plant byproducts to corn stover, rice straw, grass, and even municipal waste.
“The process, which lends itself to modular construction, is also economical as an add-on to existing corn ethanol plants,” said Lavorerio. “It can process the low-value waste product with the potential to increase yields of ethanol by 15% and improve the value of by-products by 50%.”
The first step being taken by the alliance is the construction of a mobile feedstock testing unit that will be used to generate process data from various types of cellulosic feedstock. The unit is expected to be operational in early 2010.
Clemson University will be partnering with ArborGen LLC, a company who researches tree genetics, to form a cooperative focused on the growth of biomass for the biofuels industry. The two will develop woody biomass as feedstock for biofuel development.
According to Charleston Regional Business Journal, the research will focus on development and conversion of cellulose, such as switchgrass, wood chips and other fibrous plant matter, into ethanol.
“This kind of research has global implications for climate change, energy security and the long-term stability of our local and national economy, particularly as it can help develop the rural infrastructure and jobs we need,” said Barbara Wells, president and CEO of ArborGen.
Joint areas of research include exploration of possible sources of biofuel, such as sweetgum, loblolly pine and poplar trees; equipment engineering; field trials; and pretreatment of woody biomass.
“This relationship marks a big move for the collaborative into trees as a feedstock,” said Karl Kelly, director of corporate operations at the Clemson University Restoration Institute in North Charleston. “ArborGen is a key industry leader — based in South Carolina — that can develop our existing switchgrass-to-ethanol program into other forms of biomass.”
Waste from chickens and turkeys could soon become a power source in North Carolina.
Fibrowatt LLC, which opened the nation’s first poultry-litter fueled power plant two years ago in Minnesota, has contracted with Fagen, Inc. for the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) of its first biomass-fueled power project in North Carolina.
“We are delighted to work with the Fagen team,” said Fibrowatt CEO Rupert Fraser, “their experience as EPC contractors is very impressive and we are certain that we are moving forward with a contractor that understands the unique characteristics of our technology. This agreement is another step for us in North Carolina – helping the State move forward towards its goal of being a leader in the implementation of home-grown renewable energy.”
Fagen, Inc. is a leading national design-builder focused on renewable energy projects, and is headquartered in Granite Falls, MN. “We believe the Fibrowatt process for energy production is a large step in the right direction towards energy independence and we look forward to being part of their projects,” said CEO & President Ron Fagen.
The initial North Carolina project will produce 55 megawatts of renewable electricity, enough power annually to supply over 40,000 homes. In addition to poultry litter, the plant will have the design flexibility to blend wood and other biomass with poultry litter, thus reducing dependency on a single fuel type. Plans for two other plants are also in the works.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture is now offering several Advancing Colorado’s Renewable Energy (ACRE) grants. Eligible projects include agricultural related renewable energy systems, feasibility studies and research projects. The ACRE program is a set of grants that provide funds to conduct feasibility studies, install renewable energy systems or do research into renewable energy projects.
Grant applications submitted must be for projects that will be completed withing two years of grant award. Examples of past projects that have been supported by the ACRE grant program include wind turbines, solar panels, micro-hydro systems, biomass systems, and biodiesel plants. Funds will be distributed in three categories.
1) Feasibility Studies – must study the feasibility of an agricultural energy-related project. Feasibility studies may address the market for the product, engineering requirements, economic viability, environmental concerns, legal requirements, management, and other necessary study components. A maximum allocation for each study is $25,000.
2) Project Participation — for projects will completed feasibility studies, awards will be granted to assist with the project.. A maximum allocation of $100,000 has been established per project.
3) Research — applications for research of agricultural energy-related topics will be considered in an effort to bring new information to the marketplace. Research should be tied to a particular issue or problem in Colorado. A maximum allocation of $50,000 per project has been set.
At the University of Minnesota-Morris Biomass Gasification Facility, for example, gasification researcher Jim Barbour and ARS soil scientist Jane Johnson (pictured) are evaluating potential biomass feedstocks, including pressed corn stover.
The Agricultural Research Service has scientists in 18 states involved in the Renewable Energy Assessment Project (REAP) which is trying to determine the balance between how much crop residue can be used to produce ethanol and other biofuels and how much should be left on the ground to protect soil from erosion, maintain soil organisms, and store carbon in the soil.
Because corn is currently the most widely used biofuel crop, the REAP team is especially interested in determining where, when, and how much corn stover can be harvested without harming soil productivity. The work involves not only looking at how much plant residue is needed to maintain soil carbon than to control soil erosion, but also using perennial groundcover roots and shoots as alternative sources of organic material to offset the carbon lost when stover is removed.
The first annual Advanced BioEnergy 2009 Conference & Trade Show is set to happen in Sacramento, California on November 11-13, 2009. The focal point of the event is to explore emerging policies, business strategies and technologies driving the bioenergy industry. In addition, the conference will promote cooperation between this advanced bioenergy industry and traditional energy producers as well as offer paths forward.
Topics include emerging value chains, renewable hydrocarbons, electrical generation from biomass, MSW-to-Energy, dedicated energy crops, policy updates, and more.
The process turned waste biomass — dead trees, agricultural waste and lumber byproducts — into a liquid fuel to power conventional engines. The biomass is heated at carefully controlled high temperatures in the absence of oxygen. The vapors produced rapidly condense into a bio-oil that can be added to biodiesel or petroleum diesel. Other by-products are gas and bio-char, which can be used as a soil amendment.
The ultra-low-sulfur biofuel does not require additional refinement or processing before blending with biodiesel and petroleum diesel, UGA said.
Tolero CEO Chris Churchill said the company will focus on the transportation fuels market as it completes development of the UGARF bio-oil technology. He expects to make a product based on the technology available in the first half of 2010.
Tolero will also be turning cellulosic biomass, such as agricultural waste and waste wood pallets, into transportation fuels, heating fuels, soil enhancers and industrial products.
The “World’s Largest Urban Farm and Research Test Facility” is studying a wide variety of new feedstocks that hold promise for future sources of both ethanol and biodiesel.
Agricenter International recently offered a closer look at the new crops being grown there by the Memphis Bioworks Foundation AgBioworks program and BioDimensions, Inc. Among the crops that were planted this season were sweet sorghum (pictured), switchgrass, castor, pearl millet and sunflowers.
“Our intent with hosting this new crops field day was to educate people on the opportunities for these crops in the region by inviting a range of speakers to talk about crops from the field to the factory and also showcase these crops in the field, “ says Hillary Spain, AgBioworks 25Farmer Network Coordinator.
Spain says about 50 farmers and other interested individuals from throughout the region attended the field day on August 15 to learn about each crop, ask questions and see the crop under actual growing conditions in the field.
Biotricity’s technology can take raw waste products such as sawdust, wood chips, corn stover or begasse and convert them directly into electricity. Our feedstocks are abundant and cheap, and our estimated future cash flow compared to capital costs exhibits a far superior return on capital invested. By keeping our feedstock costs relatively low, we plan to produce green power faster and
cheaper than our competitors.
“At Biotricity, we believe America needs practical solutions to generating its energy at home in order to reduce our enormous dependence on foreign imports,” stated Tyson Rohde, CEO. “Many ethanol and biodiesel processes make for an interesting story, but often don’t make sense with current economic conditions,” he added. Biotricity has developed a new combustion technology for the burning of woody biomass to generate electricity to address America’s growing demand for green power. Biotricity will generate green power from renewable energy sources and expects to reduce carbon emissions that would otherwise result from the natural decay of the biomass it burns.
Biotricity is also touting its proprietary Biotricity Power Generator that makes electricity from biomass.