SCHERREBEK, Denmark, June 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Inbicon, inventor of the biomass conversion technology driving the Inbicon Biomass Refinery, announced a summary of its private crop studies and confidential biomass research. "Our findings confirm that North America's great abundance of corn stover and wheat straw is sufficiently concentrated in the prime grain-growing regions to make biomass collection practical and economical," says Benny Mai, General Manager, Inbicon. "Farmers and biomass refinery owners alike will benefit."
Inbicon's latest study, analyzing U.S. corn biomass collection practices, was done by Larry Johnson, American biomass specialist. Johnson's findings detail the complex logistics of specifying, purchasing, harvesting, storing, and transporting stover (which also apply to grain straws). He says he's "already designed the framework for a comprehensive system. If you use yesterday's thinking, it won't work. But American agriculture keeps rising to new challenges with better methods."
Inbicon's extensive testing proves corn stalks process much the same as wheat straw, with comparable tonnage requirements and similar mass and energy balances. Typical Inbicon projects, scaled up from their Kalundborg demonstration refinery, will process about 480,000 tons of straw or stover a year. In its analysis of cornbelt crop density around existing ethanol plants, Inbicon found nearly all have 1.0-2.6 million tons of stover within 25 miles, enough for 2-4 commercial-scale refineries, each processing 1320 tons of stover a day and producing 20 million gallons a year of The New Ethanol, plus other renewable energy.
Inbicon also replies on USDA crop forecasting, DOE research, and field studies by American agricultural industry leaders. John Deere, Monsanto, ADM, AGCO, Vermeer, New Holland, and others study biomass availability and density as they plan to capitalize on the emerging cellulosic ethanol industry. "After three years of research and testing, we've determined a sustainable corn stover harvest is possible in some high-yielding corn-production areas of the Midwest," says Monsanto's Steve Petersen.
Mai sees no technical or feedstock obstacles preventing "hundreds of commercial biomass refineries from dotting the U.S. and Canada, turning the leftovers of the harvest into billions of gallons of cellulosic ethanol and thousands of megawatts of green electricity."
Inbicon is a subsidiary of DONG Energy. In Denmark, power companies such as DONG Energy annually gather a million tons of straw for conversion to green energy. These best collection practices will help shape the American system.