EPA: Thumbs-up to ‘Energy Beet’ Idea
by Mikkel Pates (Agweek) The Environmental Protection Agency predicted it might take six months to do an initial evaluation of “energy beets” for their environmental footprint as a feedstock for biofuels.
Six years — not months — later the agency has a thumbs up on energy beets as a feedstock — rating it for greenhouse gases and other environmental issues. Proponents say it’s a the first of three hurdles in making it accepted as a viable biofuel.
Energy beets produce C5 and C6 ethanol feedstock, which in turn produce aviation fuel and other products, including pharmaceuticals.
Blaine Schatz, the director of the NDSU Carrington Research and Extension Center, has worked with demonstration and testing plots in nine communities around the state, accumulating eight years of plot data. Besides the feedstock, the beets also have benefits for helping to rehabilitate soils that have become unproductive due to salts that have risen during high-water years.
Although North Dakota was an early proponent, Ripplinger says other energy beet projects across the country may be built first, noting California and Maryland projects have been proposed. READ MORE