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Biorefineries study in Idaho

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Chopping corn silage, baling straw, and growing hay and alfalfa aren’t unfamiliar processes. Farmers have long supplied feed and bedding for livestock operations. However, transforming that system to supply biorefineries is challenging considering the sheer size and breadth of a facility’s biomass appetite.

A study led by the Straw Value Add Committee in Idaho and funded through a USDA value-added grant, looked at existing straw baling equipment and considered what a scaled-up system might look like. “A biomass refinery in our case would require 800,000 tons of biomass annually,” says Duane Grant, the committee’s project manager and an Idaho grower who produces 18,000 acres of irrigated crops. “That would require the harvestable biomass from 400,000 to 500,000 acres in Idaho, just for one plant.” Grant estimates that more than 1,000 growers would be required to supply the needed tonnage, all within a 100-mile radius. “It requires that we capture 70 [percent] to 80 percent of available feedstock from all the acres in that 100-mile circle.” Engineering report of this project.

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Written by Casey McConnell

March 26, 2008 at 7:12 pm

Posted in Bioenergy

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