Group Seeks Classification as Advanced Biofuel for Energy Beets
by Sue Roesler (Farm & Ranch Guide) Cole Gustafson, department chair of the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics at North Dakota State University, said while there’s more concerns about corn ethanol at the Congressional level with the “food versus fuel debate,” advanced biofuels are still going forward.
“There’s lots to be excited about with energy beets,” Gustafson said, adding that this type of sugarbeets cannot be used for food, and are an advanced biofuel because of their low carbon footprint.
One of the major goals of the energy beet team is to be considered as an advanced biofuel, he said.
In 2008, sugarbeets and sugarcane were both classified as advanced biofuel feedstock. However, in 2009 sugarbeets were not listed in the new Renewable Fuel Standard, he said.
So the beet team members at NDSU and Green Vision Group have applied for this classification from the Environmental Protection Agency and to request a loan as an advanced biofuel.
…To find out the costs of building an energy beet plant and the parameters of such a plant, they are moving ahead with a feasibility study, Gustafson said.
Their goal is to build five biofuel plants with each one producing 20 million gallons of ethanol each.
As part of that work leading up to plant production, the beet team has applied for a grant from the Renewable Energy Council to do more research on storage.
“European technology has just shown us that sugarbeets can be stored year-round, and we want to research this,” he said.
…Energy beets would be used in a four-year rotation, he added. There are significant soil and nutrient benefits from energy beets in a four-year rotation, and there could be higher yields in the other three rotational crops from planting energy beets. The beets have long tap roots that break through hard areas, allowing good internal water drainage. READ MORE