MSU Biofuel conference


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MSU Biofuel conference

  1. 1. Commercializing Miscanthus as a Feedstock Aug 13, 2010 MSU Biofuels Conference
  2. 3. Giant Miscanthus 101
  3. 4. Giant Miscanthus <ul><li>The best crop in the SE for growth of cellulosic material </li></ul><ul><li>Many benefits: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>High Yield & Profit Potential </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Government Benefits & Cost Sharing (BCAP) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Low Inputs & Production Costs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Care-free Growth </li></ul></ul>
  4. 5. <ul><li>Giant miscanthus identified as a C4 perennial crop with huge biomass potential: 10-25 tons/acre/yr, dependent upon: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Variety </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Culture practices </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Geographical location </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Soil Class </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Height up to 15 ft </li></ul><ul><li>Dormant harvest: nutrients & moisture senesce back to roots </li></ul><ul><ul><li>10-15% Moisture Content at harvest </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sequesters Carbon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Returns minerals back to roots </li></ul></ul>Giant Miscanthus, all varieties:
  5. 6. Miscanthus is not switchgrass.
  6. 7. <ul><li>Developed by Dr. Brian Baldwin at MSU, through 12 years of biomass crop study and selection for superior traits. </li></ul><ul><li>The only variety MEANT FOR the Southeast. </li></ul><ul><li>Freedom is the only University-released, named, certified strain of giant miscanthus. </li></ul>
  7. 8. <ul><li>“ We see a lot of potential in Freedom giant miscanthus --it’s the most promising of the hundreds of miscanthus cultivars we’ve evaluated over the years, and it’s light years ahead of any of the other grasses.” </li></ul><ul><li>--Dr. Brian Baldwin, MSU </li></ul>
  8. 9. The Brief Story: <ul><li>Began with small amount of rhizomes </li></ul><ul><li>Decided on certified “Foundation Stock” because of importance of purity </li></ul><ul><li>Began propagating commercially </li></ul><ul><li>Now licensing growers throughout SE </li></ul><ul><li>Began talks with end-users on contracted biomass </li></ul><ul><li>Now, in 2010: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>500 acres of Foundation -- and over 5,000,000 rhizomes planted to date </li></ul></ul>
  9. 11. Yield Model: Year 1-5 2-3 Tons/Acre 1 8 Tons/Acre 2 13-15 Tons/Acre 3 18-22 Tons/Acre 4 22-25 Tons/Acre 5 <ul><li>Establishment </li></ul><ul><li>Fertilizer </li></ul><ul><li>Herbicides </li></ul><ul><li>Little Fertilizer </li></ul><ul><li>Little Herbicides </li></ul><ul><li>Full Yield </li></ul><ul><li>20+ Year Life </li></ul>Stem Crown Size at Ground
  10. 12. At Planting Time, Marginal Soil Example Bulk Density Bale ~ 10 lbs/cubic ft. Briquette ~ 35 lbs/cubic ft. Pellet ~ 45 lbs/cubic ft.
  11. 13. 1st Year Plot, August & October
  12. 14. Same plot, 2nd year July, 2010 Aug, 2010
  13. 15. 6th Year Plot. Growing at MSU. No fertilizer.
  14. 16. <ul><li>Little to no fertilizer needs </li></ul><ul><li>Highly drought tolerant </li></ul><ul><li>No known pests </li></ul><ul><li>Dense growth crowds out weeds </li></ul><ul><li>Nutrients returned to soil each year </li></ul><ul><li>Can grow on Marginal Soils </li></ul><ul><li>CO 2 neutral, or negative energy source: Carbon credits </li></ul><ul><li>~ 12% Moisture Content at Harvest </li></ul><ul><li>Up to 25 tons per acre yield </li></ul>Attributes & Benefits Driving Growth
  15. 17. <ul><li>New growth from rhizomes </li></ul><ul><li>Plant is sterile </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Triploid = seed sterile </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Multiplication is by plant division </li></ul><ul><li>5,000 rhizomes per acre </li></ul>Giant Miscanthus Growth
  16. 18. Rhizomes
  17. 19. Freedom Material Characteristics Moisture Content At Harvest ~ 12% BTU Values: As Harvested ~ 7,250/lb Dry Basis ~ 8,200/lb Wood as harvested: ~ 4,600/lb Ash Content: ~ 3%
  18. 20. Yield Comparisons
  19. 22. Biomass Yields for SE <ul><li>3-5X the yield of timber & switchgrass </li></ul><ul><li>Almost double the yield of other giant miscanthus </li></ul>
  20. 23. 1 Acre of Freedom 28 tons total over first three years 20-25 tons/yr each year thereafter 288 tons after 16-years of harvest 18+ tons/year cumulative yield 12-15% Moisture Content
  21. 24. Scaling-Up: Our Growth Model
  22. 25. The Innovator’s Dilemma: <ul><li>You can always tell who the pioneers are… </li></ul><ul><li>They’re the ones with the arrows in their backs. </li></ul>
  23. 26. Efforts Going Forward: <ul><li>500+ acres of Foundation planted </li></ul><ul><li>Demo plots in 10 states </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Monitor, research growth & yields </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learn best approach for each region </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ongoing Research with MSU </li></ul><ul><li>2011: We can plant 50-75,000 acres </li></ul><ul><li>2012+: Exponential growth in acreage </li></ul>
  24. 27. What is Freedom Giant Miscanthus? Utilized greenhouses and fields to accelerate propagation
  25. 28. 500 Acres of Foundation Stock Will plant up to 100,000 acres in 2011
  26. 29. Southeast Demo Plots
  27. 30. Supply Chain Logistics
  28. 31. The Supply Chain Doesn’t Exist <ul><li>Must create a supply chain, not just acreage </li></ul><ul><li>Harvest, propagation equipment </li></ul><ul><li>Storage and transportation </li></ul><ul><li>Intermediary forms: pellets, briquettes, torrefied </li></ul><ul><li>We’re participating and innovating at each of these steps </li></ul>
  29. 32. Harvesting <ul><li>In-field bailing – varies by equipment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Up to 4’x4’x8’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>650 to 1,400 lbs per bale </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Modified existing equipment and specialized equipment under development </li></ul>
  30. 33. Storage Requirements & Options <ul><li>Ease of storage allows for year-around supply </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Annual storage in-field with cover </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Covered bales increase longevity </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Minimal risk of internal combustion or rot/loss (low moisture content) </li></ul><ul><li>Bale handled with traditional tractors and forklifts </li></ul>
  31. 34. Handling and Conveyance
  32. 35. Transportation Efficiencies
  33. 36. Freedom Densification Options <ul><li>Shreds and Briquettes </li></ul><ul><li>Pellets </li></ul><ul><li>Shredding, Hammer-milling and pelletizing </li></ul><ul><li>EU Pellet Standards </li></ul><ul><li>Torrefied </li></ul><ul><li>Hydrophobic / Inert = outside storage </li></ul><ul><li>~20% yield loss; ~30% boost in btu value </li></ul>
  34. 37. Field of Freedom Giant Miscanthus