THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., Sept. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Energy crop company Ceres, Inc. announced today that it will trial improved switchgrass cultivars and high-biomass sorghum hybrids with Range Fuels, Inc. as part of a cooperative field trialing program at the site of Range Fuels' commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant, now under construction near Soperton, Georgia, about 150 miles southeast of Atlanta.
While wood residues will be the primary feedstock for this first-of-a-kind biorefinery, Ceres said that Range Fuels is also interested in better understanding the economic, environmental and logistical attributes of non-food, low-carbon grass species in the production of cellulosic biofuels. These grass species have a number of advantages: they have relatively rapid breeding cycles, they are highly efficient at storing sunlight in the form of carbohydrates, and they are widely adapted. Last spring, Ceres provided seed of new, high-yielding varieties that was planted in demonstration plots on Range Fuels' Soperton Plant site. The crops will be assessed for several years.
"The goal is to determine the best crop management, storage and handling practices for Georgia, and just as important, the performance of herbaceous biomass in Range Fuels' conversion process," said Anna Rath, Ceres vice president of commercial development. She noted that grass species, including both annuals and perennials, can provide a flexible and reliable supply of raw materials for fuel and power. "This is an important step in demonstrating that energy crops can be successfully and sustainably grown in the area surrounding the Range Fuels Soperton Plant site," she said.
Mitch Mandich, CEO of Range Fuels, said this project will inform future
expansion decisions by the green energy company. "As we think about
expanding production beyond our Soperton Plant, which will use woody
biomass, we need to start understanding how a variety of high-yield,
minimal impact biomass feed
|SOURCE Ceres, Inc.|
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