New USDA-ISU Report Validates Cellulosic Ethanol Biomass Sustainability


Source: POET, LLC

Indianapolis -- Five years of soil nutrient data gathered at POET-DSM’s Project LIBERTY site are consistent with more than 500 site-years of additional soil research, experts at USDA and Iowa State University have determined. Those results show that biomass harvesting, which is now being done in the Emmetsburg, Iowa area, is consistent with proper farm management.

“Successful deployment of cellulosic bioenergy production operations such as the POET-DSM ‘Project Liberty’ program near Emmetsburg, Iowa can strengthen rural economies, help ensure energy security, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions without contributing to soil degradation – another global challenge,” said Dr. Douglas Karlen with USDA-ARS. 

POET-DSM is currently finishing construction on its 25 million gallon-per-year cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa. That plant will use crop residue – corn cobs, leaves, husk and some stalk – to produce renewable fuel. Since 2008, POET-DSM has commissioned soil research from Karlen and Dr. Stuart Birrell (Iowa State University BioSystems and Agricultural Engineering Department) to determine changes in soil quality under different biomass harvest scenarios. That data has now been aggregated with 500+ years of additional soil data from four separate sites.

Karlen said fields that would be good candidates for biomass harvesting have qualities including
- Slopes of less than 3%
- Consistent grain yield histories of 175 bu/acre
- Good nutrient management plans with soil test records

At a 1 ton per acre harvest rate, which POET-DSM advocates, Nitrogen and Phosphorus applications should not need to change, but Potassium should be monitored. Karlen also said that by monitoring natural variability within a particular field, “even more stover may be harvested from some areas in a sustainable manner.”

These recommendations are in line with previous recommendations from Karlen and Birrell for the Emmetsburg area.

“We’ve been working with farmers for almost eight years now to ensure that biomass harvesting is done right,” POET Biomass Director Adam Wirt said. “We’ve developed an EZ Bale harvest system that maximizes our cob content and minimizes stalk removal. It’s a quick, clean and effective method for farmers to get more revenue from their fields while managing what is often excess crop residue.”

The full text is available at http://poetdsm.com/nutrients.

B-roll footage of biomass harvesting is available for media use athttp://poetdsm.com/resources/docs/poet-harvest-broll.zip. Photos are available athttps://www.flickr.com/photos/94159374@N03/sets.

POET-DSM is now hiring multiple positions for Project LIBERTY. For a full list of open positions, visit poetdsm.com/employment. For more information, visit poetdsm.com.

POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels, LLC

POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels, LLC, is a 50/50 joint venture between Royal DSM and POET, LLC. Based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the company is a cooperative effort of two innovators that provides a key to unlocking the opportunity of converting corn crop residue into cellulosic bio-ethanol. Built on the strengths of both companies, the joint venture has a critical mission: to make cellulosic bio-ethanol competitive with corn bio-ethanol, the most competitive renewable liquid transportation fuel on the US market today. Drawing on the deep expertise and experience of POET and DSM in different areas of converting cellulosic biomass into bio-ethanol, POET - DSM Advanced Biofuels will have its first commercial-scale plant co-located with POET' Biorefining -- Emmetsburg in Emmetsburg, Iowa. Based on this plant, the JV plans to globally license an integrated technology package for the conversion of corn crop residue to cellulosic bio-ethanol. More information: www.poetdsm.com

Customer comments

No comments were found for New USDA-ISU Report Validates Cellulosic Ethanol Biomass Sustainability. Be the first to comment!