Kudos to Chemtex
by Susanne Retka Schill (Ethanol Producer Magazine) In one of those interesting ironies of renewable fuels, Chemtex’s North Carolina proposed cellulosic ethanol project puts a sector of the hog industry rooting for the success of advanced biofuels.
…What caught my eye on the Project Alpha announcement in North Carolina is the feedstock plan. North Carolina pork producers are part of the project there, which is targeting land used for spreading lagoon effluent. Sounds like a lot of those fields are now planted to coastal Bermuda grass, which will be transitioned to miscanthus and switchgrass, according to the news release.
It’s been a while since I’ve written about either feedstock, but I do recall that one of the intriguing applications of the many energy grasses being investigated is in cleaning up contaminated soils. Some researchers are looking at using energy grasses to deal with sludge—the solids left after municipal wastewater is treated. Some energy grasses may be able to use the nutrients and sequester heavy metals. The researchers needed to confirm that none of the contaminants of concern would end up in the fuel, of course.
Hog manure isn’t a contaminant unless you have too much of it, which happens pretty easily around large confinement hog barns. Those energy grasses should be able to fully utilize the nitrogen and phosphorus, producing good yields while solving the problem of those nutrients potentially leaching into surface water or groundwater. It should bring a revenue source to farmers and create a whole new business sector around the cutting, baling and transportation of the energy grasses to the biorefinery.
And, in one of those interesting ironies of renewable fuels, it puts a sector of the hog industry rooting for the success of advanced biofuels. READ MORE