What is in this article?:
- Moves to commercialize cellulosic ethanol march ahead
- Plants make progress
- Corn crop residue model - pros and cons of different collection models
- Exploring different collection models
- The cellulosic ethanol industry is close to real-world plants with commercial production volumes.
- The Renewable Fuel Standard is important for supporting advanced biofuel development.
- Major plants from DuPont and POET come on line in 2014.
Exploring different collection models
Pros: At $60-76 per dry ton, growers capture as much of the crop residue’s value as possible. This is also the option for growers who do not want anyone else touching their fields.
Cons: Collection, loading/unloading and transportation equipment (and associated operating capital) needed.
Pros: Aggregators (such as a customer harvester; farmer group; or ag retail outlet) would have the necessary collection, loading/unloading and transportation equipment, eliminating the need for the grower to purchase such equipment or spend the time for biomass harvest.
Aggregator would establish contracts with farmers to collect and haul biomass as well as establish delivery contracts with the ethanol producer. POET-DSM also engages with professional aggregators to perform the entire process of baling, staging, storing and transporting biomass.
Cons: Grower must share part of the value of corn stover collection with third-party aggregator.
Ethanol Producer Handles Entire Collection, Transportation Process:
Pros: Ethanol producers, like those above, have worked with other organizations to manage many of the challenges. Studies on the impact of crop residue removal on soil are ongoing.
Cons: Grower must share part of the value of corn stover collection with ethanol producer.
In the future, other cellulosic ethanol producers would unlikely take this route as they would be more focused on ethanol plant capital/operating costs and obtaining additional financing, says Wally Tyner, agricultural economist, Purdue University, who has conducted several corn stover economic studies. For cost estimates on corn stover for bioenergy production, see Purdue Extension publications RE-3-W and RE-6-W.