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Energy Beet Feasibility Study Finds Navy Best Potential Near-Term Customer for Alcohol-to-Jetfuel Product

Submitted by on September 14, 2017 – 4:45 pmNo Comment

(Advanced Biofuels USA)  USDA-funded feasibility study based on 2016 energy beet project at University of Maryland Eastern Shore finds Navy solicitation is best market for economic viability of project followed by advanced ethanol for Mid-Atlantic ground transportation markets.

With Norfolk and Mid-Atlantic international airports in the area, could Maryland’s Eastern Shore, part of the Delmarva (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) Peninsula, develop an economically viable sustainable alternative jetfuel (SAJF) supply and production chain to serve these markets?

This question was assessed by Advanced Biofuels USA, a nonprofit educational organization, with a US Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development Grant using available product yield and production cost information from Phase 1 of an energy beet project conducted in 2016 by the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

The study has determined that on the Delmarva it is economically possible for energy beets to be grown and processed into advanced ethanol as a stand-alone product for motor transportation or as a feedstock for renewable jetfuel to meet the needs of the US Navy at Norfolk while complementing, not disrupting existing agricultural industries and possibly providing environmental benefits and poultry feed co-products. Alternative markets for commercial aviation biofuel or for ethanol as feedstock for chemical production should give investors and growers confidence as they consider developing a new industry in this area.

This project used newly developed energy beets as the feedstock, enzymatic conversion of the biomass to obtain fermentable sugars, and proposed processing of those sugars on barge-based conversion facilities into ethanol as a precursor or biointermediate for jetfuel production . 

Based on very preliminary data, this study finds that it could be feasible to produce low greenhouse gas emissions advanced ethanol or jetfuel on the Eastern Shore and Delmarva using all the biomass sugars from energy beets which yield twice as much ethanol per acre as corn starch.  This could  provide an economically feasible and environmentally sustainable way to provide fuels for the U.S. Navy solicitation using energy beet feedstock.

The study lists substantial additional research needed to verify initial data,  test new conversion pathways, obtain regulatory approvals, confirm markets for co-products and implement the innovations outlined.       Download full study  Download Executive Summary  Download Quick Summary with Additional Charts and Graphs

Key Contacts:

University of Maryland Eastern Shore:  Dr. Jurgen G Schwarz  (410) 651-6168; jgschwarz @

Atlantic Biomass:  Robert Kozak (301) 644-1396; atlanticbiomass @

Plant Sensory Systems:  Dr. Kathy Turano and Dr. Frank Turano:  (443) 543-5580;  kturano @ and fturano @

Purdue University:  Dr. Michael R. Ladisch: (765) 494-7022;  ladisch @

Vertimass:  Dr. John Hannon:  (617) 513-7092;  JHannon @

Advanced Biofuels USA:  Joanne Ivancic: (301) 644-1395; info @


Advanced Biofuels USA,a nonprofit educational organization advocates for the adoption of advanced biofuels as an energy security, military flexibility, economic development and climate change mitigation/pollution control solution. Our key tool for accomplishing this is our web site,, a resource for everyone from opinion-leaders, decision-makers and legislators to industry professionals, investors, feedstock growers and researchers; as well as journalists, teachers and students. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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