Can Giant KG replace Switchgrass on restored Minnesota Prarie Lands?
Beneficial biomass: food waste, forest residues and perennial grasses in Minnesota
In Minnesota, food industry and other byproducts are feeding a new combined heat and power (CHP) plant that generates renewable electricity and efficiently uses waste heat from the boiler. Rahr Malting Company and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux partnered to form Koda Energy, which in 2009 began generating up to 22 megawatts of renewable electricity with oat hulls, wood chips, prairie grasses, and barley malt dust from Rahr Malting.
The Koda plant burns about 170,000 tons of these agricultural waste products a year, and is able to operate at over 70 percent efficiency because Rahr Malting also uses the waste heat from the boiler in their operations, displacing the need for additional natural gas. About half of the plant’s renewable electricity is used to powering Rahr Malting, with the remainder purchased by Xcel Energy to supply to their customers. In the future, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community hopes to use switchgrass grown on restored prairies to provide some of the biomass for Koda Energy.