Sustainable, available, reliable affordable bioeconomy feedstocks: The hottest slides from ABFC 2015

June 11, 2015 |

In the advanced bioeconomy, the question for some time has been “how do you fund it?” or “how do you make it?”. But now, feedstock is becoming the key variable, it’s a case of “where do you find it?”

“Feedstock is Key,” says Verdezyne CEO Bill Radany. Dr. Harry Baumes, Director of the USDA’s Office of Energy Policy and New Uses agrees. “Now that I have been involved with bioenergy/bioeconomy for almost a decade I have come to believe that feedstock supply is going to make or break the bioeconomy,” he told the Advanced Bioeconomy Feedsocks Conference delegates in an opening day address.

Is it affordable? Available? Reliable? Have the developers and operators mastered agricultural risk? Do they have the know-how to effectively procure from those resources, and buy at the best combination of price and quality? Do they know how to aggregate at the lowest cost? Transport it, store it, crush it, prep it, chop it, time it?

ABFC 2015 adjourned last night, and from the feedstock and supply chain leadership conference in New Orleans, LA, we have selected the top slides presented in order to answer those questions.

A super 10-slide introduction to 10 hot feedstocks

Let’s start off with an excellent overview of 10 emerging feedstocks from Matt Rudolph at the Roundtable of Sustainable Biomaterials, covering jatropha, carinata, gliricidia sepium, pongamia, switchgrass, giant miscanthus, starchy wastewater, industrial waste gases, SOLARIS “Seed Tobacco”, and macauba palm tree (Acrocomia sp).

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The Birth of New Agricultural Practice

Pacific Ag focused in these slides on industrial reinvention — the diffusion of new technologies and new models, as well as the development process of an integrated supply chain.

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Yield and Residues on the rise

These two slides from DuPont conveyed both the scope of demand from a cellulosic refinery, its transformative benefits — and focused in on the fact that as corn yields increase, so are crop residues being left in the field, a risk for soil health if unaddresses and at the same time a gigantic sector opportunity.

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The complexity and costs of energy crop upstream

Genera offered these two slides to demonstrate the complexity of energy crops, but also the substantial operational and cost improvement oppprtunities.

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The new yields with new crops like sorghum

28 tons per acre, as average sweet sorghum yields, were highlighted by the Sorghum Producers Association — and also, in this world map, we see the massive growing zones for emerging crops such as sorghum.

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In these two slides from NexSteppe we see the benefits for growers — also, how products like biomass sorghum are expected to support biopower and cellulosic biofuels, while sweet sorghum is expected to support biobased prodcuts as well s adavnaced fuels.

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The Big Picture from the DOE and USDA

In these slides, we look at the “Big Picture” in a USDA infographic, as well as some cautions in terms of assessing cold tolerance in determining growing zones. Also, we had details presented on the upcoming $100 million USDA investment in blender pumps.

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One especially informative slide looked at the land radius — how much land, at what grower participation, required to support a reference 50 million gallon cellulosic plant. Also a high-level slide addressing how bioenergy can “break through silos” and bring one action that impacts several related issues in climate, energy and more.

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One last one looked at how work on quality, cost and volume relates back to US strategic goals in feedstock supply and logistics.

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Feedstock-level data

It was hard not to notice these two slides from Texas A&M’s Bill Rooney on sorghum specific growing areas — showing the overwleming importance of the Eastern side of the country. What are the tipping points — where does a novel feedstock like new sorghum become feasible, when and why?

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Equipment innovations

Here, we have three slides on innovative equipment from Case New Holland, Vermeer and work on cost in the field from AGCO.

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The producer perspective

It is well worth showcasing these slides from producers like Chip Energy and Renew Biomass – what does the grower want, how will a new crop be planted and harvested.

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Here’s some “Been there” worldly experience reflections from Iogen CEO Brian Foody, a primer on the sorghum opportunity from Delta BioRenewables highlighted the producer slides.

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Expert perspectives

Biogas potential, a unique conservation program in the Gulf area that provides freedstocks for biomass projects. Meanwhile, some overview of the estimated value of sugars from crops, including extraction. Also, an overvieew of the compelling economics of biogas production.

Finally, a challenge from Advanced Biofuels USA to the EPA to revise its specifications for RINs to ensure that intermediates (such as industrial sugars) fits into the RIN structure.

 

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