Shep, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray is a member of the Democratic Party which would suggest that he's more likely to 'say no to the living-wage veto'
Energy East pipeline may create 10,000 jobs, study says (video)
TransCanada Corp. hired Deloitte to conduct economic analysis of proposed pipeline
Posted: Sep 10, 2013 8:44 AM AT
Last Updated: Sep 10, 2013 10:49 PM AT
TransCanada Corp.'s proposed west-east pipeline could create 10,000 jobs and generate $10 billion in additional GDP during the development and construction phase, according to an economic analysis released on Tuesday.
The project could generate an additional $25.3 billion in GDP during its estimated 40 years of operation and sustain 1,000 direct full-time jobs, the independent report prepared by Deloitte & Touche found.
Energy East could also generate $10 billion in tax revenues for all levels of government over the life of the project, which is expected to extend beyond 40 years with regular maintenance, Deloitte projected.
"Energy East is a critical infrastructure project for all Canadians because it will enhance our country's energy security, allow us to receive greater value for our important natural resources and will create tangible economic benefits for communities across the country," TransCanada's president and chief executive officer Russ Girling said in a statement.
The Calgary-based company released the report it commissioned on its proposed $12-billion Energy East Pipeline project on Tuesday morning.
All six provinces along the pipeline's proposed route are projected to see job creation, economic growth and increased tax revenues.
The Deloitte report shows 2,300 direct full-time equivalent jobs will be created during the three-year development period and 7,700 during the three-year construction phase.
That combined six-year period could add $10 billion in GDP across the country, Deloitte found, based on Statistics Canada's input/output model, which measures direct, indirect and induced economic effects of large industrial projects and activities in Canada.
Alternatives to Keystone, Oliver says
Solar Panel Is Next Granite Countertop for Homebuilders
By Justin Doom - Sep 11, 2013 2:25 AM MT
Solar panels are the next granite countertops: an amenity for new homes that’s becoming a standard option for buyers in U.S. markets.
At least six of 10 largest U.S. homebuilders led by KB Home include the photovoltaic devices in new construction, according to supplier SunPower Corp. (SPWR) Two California towns are mandating installations, and demand for the systems that generate electricity at home will jump 56 percent nationwide this year, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
“In the next six months, homebuilders in California and the expensive-energy states will be going solar as a standard, and just incorporating it into the cost of the house like any other feature,” Jim Petersen, chief executive officer of the PetersenDean Inc., the largest closely held U.S. roofing and solar contractor, said in an interview.
Lashing panels to roofs during construction is about 20 percent cheaper than after a house is built. Homeowners who can afford the extra $10,000 to $20,000 cost in return for free power threaten the business of traditional utilities such as Edison International of California or Kansas’ Westar Energy Inc.
Power companies are losing business because they can’t cut their rates in line with the tumbling prices of residential solar systems. Those cost about $4.93 a watt in the first quarter, down 16 percent from a year earlier, according to the Washington-based solar association. That was sparked by the 18 percent slump in prices for solar panels and related hardware in the same period.
A 3-kilowatt system, enough to power a typical mid-size home, costs less than $15,000 and can be rolled into a mortgage, said Tom Werner, CEO of San Jose, California-based SunPower.
“You embed it into your home mortgage, you’re cashflow positive month one,” he said.
That’s similar to how some buyers decided to p
'50 dirtiest' US power plants emit more greenhouse gases than South Korea
A new study by an environmental group suggests that reining in a handful of America's coal-fired power plants would have a major impact on greenhouse gas emissions.
By Mark Clayton, Staff writer / September 10, 2013
Fifty US power plants emit more greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels than all but six nations, says a new report.
The study by Environment America paints a bulls-eye on the nation’s biggest coal-fired power plants, suggesting that reining in a relatively small share of America's 6,000 electric generating facilities could have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions.
The report comes as the Obama administration is preparing the nation’s first-ever greenhouse gas emissions regulations for US power plants, which could be released as soon as this month. The administration’s goal is to have power plant emissions regulations in place by 2015, and the new study provides a window into which plants could face steep federal fines unless they slash emissions or close.
Of the country's 6,000 coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, wind, and solar electric-generating facilities, a small sub-group of mostly coal-fired power generators produces more than its share of the nation’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions compared with the electricity it produces, the report found. The "50 dirtiest" power plants generated nearly 33 percent of the US power sector's carbon dioxide emissions in 2011 but only about 16 percent of its electricity.
US power plants are the largest source of greenhouse gases in the country, responsible for 41 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide pollution, the report states. But the "50 dirtiest" stand out for emitting more than 2 percent of the world’s energy-related carbon dioxide pollution – which would place them at No. 7 if they were a country, behind Germany and ahead of South Korea.
The top CO2-emitting power plant in the US – Power Plant Scherer in Juliette
Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Weed Ending September 6, 2013
U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged about 15.9 million barrels per day during the week ending September 6, 2013, roughly the same as the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 92.5 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production was flat compared to the previous week, averaging 9.1 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production was also unchanged last week, averaging about 5.0 million barrels per day.
U.S. crude oil imports averaged about 8.0 million barrels per day last week, down by 238 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports averaged over 8.1 million barrels per day. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 401 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 99 thousand barrels per day last week.
U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 0.2 million barrels from the previous week. At 360.0 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are near the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 1.7 million barrels last week and are in the upper half of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 2.6 million barrels last week but remain near the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 0.1 million barrels last week and are in the middle of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 4.1 million barrels last week.
Total products supplied over the last four-week period averaged 19.0 million barrels per day, up by 1.7 percent from the same period last year. Over the last four weeks,
Energies Market Overview insidefutures
Short-Term Energy Outlook Release Date: September 10, 2013
Next Release Date: October 8, 2013 (10 a.m.) | Full Report | Text Only | All Tables | All Figures
•Monthly average crude oil prices increased for the fourth consecutive month in August 2013, as supply disruptions in Libya increased and concerns over the conflict in Syria intensified. The U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) forecast for Brent crude oil spot price, which averaged $108 per barrel during the first half of 2013, averages $109 per barrel over the second half of 2013 and $102 per barrel in 2014, $5 per barrel and $2 per barrel higher than forecast in last month's STEO, respectively. Projected West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices average $101 per barrel during the fourth quarter of 2013 and $96 per barrel during 2014. Energy price forecasts are highly uncertain and could differ significantly from the projected levels. The current values of futures and options contracts suggest the lower and upper limits of the 95% confidence interval for the market's expectations of monthly average WTI prices in December 2013 at $86 per barrel and $131 per barrel, respectively.
•In August, unplanned disruptions among the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC producers reached an estimated 2.7 million barrels per day (bbl/d), the highest level since at least January 2011 (see EIA Estimates of Crude Oil and Liquid Fuels Supply Disruptions and Status of Libyan Loading Ports and Oil and Natural Gas Fields). Of this volume, 0.6 million bbl/d was attributable to non-OPEC producers, while OPEC producers accounted for the remaining 2.1 million bbl/d of outages. OPEC disruptions reached the highest level since at least January 2009, when EIA began tracking this information.
•EIA's forecast for the regular gasoline retail price averages $3.44 per gallon in the fourth quarter of 2013, 11 cents per gallon higher than in last month's STEO. The annu
Feds consider ban on new coal plants that lack expensive carbon controls
September 11, 2013 at 12:03 pm by Bloomberg
New coal plants would need to install expensive equipment to limit climate-change emissions under a proposal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is close to issuing, according to people familiar with the plan.
The EPA agreed to revise a similar proposal from last year in response to opposition by utilities and coal producers who said it would effectively kill coal as a power source. The new version will be structured differently, though offers little solace to plant operators, according to the people who have been briefed by officials and asked not to be identified before the public release.
The rules, the subject of intense lobbying by the industry, are under review by White House officials, and could be reworked before the Sept. 20 scheduled release. The revised standard would retain a provision letting utilities phase-in the capture technology over time, one person said.
Relying on carbon capture to limit coal emissions is challenging because the technology is unproven and it’s too expensive, according to the industry.
Alisha Johnson, a spokeswoman for the EPA, declined to comment.
“They are going to have to be very artful, given the stage of development of the technology, it’s apparent costs and the fact that the government is subsidizing it,” said William Bumpers, a lawyer at Baker Botts LLP in Washington who deals with EPA rules. “That doesn’t strike me as commercially viable.”
Bumpers said he didn’t know what EPA planned to do.
The administration was forced to rework the first rules on greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants after legal experts questioned its approach in setting one standard for coal and natural-gas plants. Coal emits about twice the carbon dioxide as natural gas when burned to make power.
Carbon-dioxide emissions since the Industrial Revolution have led to a warming of the Earth’s temperatu
PEI research estimates E15 conversion costs for retail stations
By Erin Voegele | September 11, 2013
Responding to a request made by the USDA, the Petroleum Equipment Institute recently published results of its research into how much it costs to convert a station dispensing E10 to one that supplies E15. The results show the conversion costs are much lower than those projected by Big Oil, ranging from an average of $1,000 per station to just over $320,000, depending on specific upgrades needed.
According to information published by PEI, Todd Campbell, acting chief of staff for USDA Rural Development, provided PEI with several scenarios regarding the conversion of retail stations to E15 on Aug. 13 and asked for the organization’s response. In a Sept. 6 letter to Campbell, Robert Renkes, executive vice president of PEI, noted his organization conducted research from Aug. 22 to Sept. 5 via a survey of PEI members from across the nation, resulting in ballpark figures for each scenario.
Under the first E15 conversion scenario, all onsite equipment is compatible with E15, including underground storage systems, dispensers and hanging hardware. The conversion, however, might require labeling and signage changes. The PEI estimates the cost of those changes would average $1,167 with the respondents providing a median answer of $1,000.
Additional scenarios addressed by the PEI include one that assumes the underground storage tank is not E15 compatible, one that assumes a retrofit kit is needed to make the onsite dispensers compatible the fuel blend, and another that considers the expense of converting a site that must use a retrofit kit to make the dispenser E15 compatible, but does not require the replacement of hanging hardware. Additional scenarios assume both dispensers and underground storage systems need upgrading, or that existing dispensers are replaced with new E-15 listed dispensers. The research also addressed the cost to install a stand-alone E15 disp
Advanced biofuel industry leaders: now is the time to unite
By Anna Simet | September 11, 2013
Industry leaders at the National Advanced Biofuel Conference & Expo had an adamant, clear-cut message for attendees: if there was ever a time to unite and work together as one force, that time is now.
During the kickoff general session, Advanced Biofuel Association President Michael McAdams urged biofuel industry members—whether biodiesel, renewable diesel, cellulosic or first-generation ethanol producers—to protect what they have built over the last 30 years. Specifically, the renewable fuel standard (RFS). “During the next several weeks, we’ll be in the throws [of the RFS’s fate],” he said.
AFBA Chairman and CEO of Sundrop Biofuels Wayne Simmons joined McAdams on stage, magnifying the significance of trade associations and their relationships with members, as well as essential camaraderie between members. “We have members in all different stages of development and are quite diverse…being a part of an industry association allows a company to really magnify its voice. There are a lot of diverse viewpoints, so there has to be a balance…we need to make sure we’re all integrated and focused the same way. We don’t want anyone in competition with each other; the best thing for everyone would be to produce more advanced biofuels.”
McAdams discussed a key July RFS hearing on Capitol Hill, which he described as “a bit theatrical,” and “tilted against higher blends of ethanol.” During the hearing, which played out seemingly well for the industry, both stakeholders and non-industry members in opposition of the RFS were intensely questioned.
On what’s in store in the wake of the July hearing, McAdams said there will be a potential legislative action no later than the first or second week of October in the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, the Senate has indicated it will potentially have a hearing end of September or early October. “I anticipate we’ll see the [
“I anticipate we’ll see the [U.S. EPA’s] RVO rule in third or fourth week in September, which will set the numbers for the renewable pool, advanced pool, biomass-based diesel pool and the cellulosic pool for 2014. Statute obligates it to be done by November 30… I don’t think it will get there, but I suspect it’ll be done by the end of the year.”
Sapphire pays off USDA loan guarantee early
20 Aug 2013
Sapphire Energy Inc. has paid of its entire $54.5 million USDA loan guarantee. The company was awarded the guarantee in late 2009 under the USDA’s Biorefinery Assistance Program to support the construction of a fully integrated, algae-to-crude oil commercial demonstration facility in Columbus, N.M.
The Green Crude Farm was completed on time and on budget, and is currently producing renewable crude oil on a continuous basis. According to Sapphire, the operational crude oil farm has led to additional investment in the company and commercial partnerships. Sapphire repaid the remaining loan balance in full after receiving additional equity from private investors.
The company also recently announced that it is expanding its partnership with The Linde Group to commercialize a new industrial-scale conversion technology needed to upgrade algae biomass into crude oil. Together, the companies will refine the hydrothermal treatment process developed by Sapphire. That process sis currently operating at the pilot scale.
LNG export critics call on Energy Dept. for time out
September 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm by Jennifer A. Dlouhy
With the Obama administration on Wednesday approving a fourth company’s plans to sell natural gas overseas, some lawmakers and manufacturers said it’s time for the federal government to reassess the economic risks of those export approvals.
The Energy Department has now authorized companies to export 6.37 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas daily, including Wednesday’s approval of foreign sales from Dominion’s Cove Point facility in eastern Maryland.
That puts the U.S. squarely within widely projected ranges for eventual natural gas exports — and past a 5 bcf/day threshold at which some manufacturers say domestic prices for the fossil fuel could be pushed upward.
The Energy Department “has an obligation to use most recent data about U.S. natural gas demand and production and prove to American families and manufacturers that these exports will not have a significant impact on domestic prices, and in turn on energy security, growth and employment,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
The head of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Wyden has criticized the government’s reliance on energy market projections made in 2010 in assessing the economic effect of additional natural gas exports. A government-commissioned study last year using those numbers — and a baseline projection of 6 bcf/day in exports — concluded that the United States would score big economic benefits by broadly exporting natural gas, with only modest domestic price increases for the fossil fuel.
A coalition of large industrial users of natural gas, including the Dow Chemical Co., Dallas-based Celanese and Nucor Corp., said the Energy Department should tread more carefully, given the cumulative exports it has already authorized.
“We are now approaching a volume of LNG exports that many experts project will impact price and volatility for natural gas,” noted Jennifer Diggins, chai
Tillerson hasn't figured it out that its more economical to squeeze the 40% - 60+% oil content out of algae than it is to obtain the 6% or 7% dirty oil content within the oilsands.
Algal Oil Yields
Microalgae, like higher plants, produce storage Lipids in the form of triacyglycerols (TAGs). Comparatively algae produce more oil than any other oilseeds which are currently in use. Many microalgal species can be induced to accumulate substantial quantities of lipids, often greater than 60% of their biomass.
Comparison of average oil yields from algae with that from other oilseeds
The table below presents indicative oil yields from various oilseeds and algae. Please note that there are significant variations in yields even within an individual oilseed depending on where it is grown, the specific variety/grade of the plant etc. Similarly, for algae there are significant variations between oil yields from different strains of algae. The data presented below are indicative in nature, primarily to highlight the order-of-magnitude differences present in the oil yields from algae when compared with other oilseeds. (See also: Vegetable Oils Yields & Characteristics – from Journey to Forever)
White House calling union leaders ahead of vote on ObamaCare resolution
By Kevin Bogardus - 09/11/13 04:44 PM ET
LOS ANGELES — White House officials have been calling union leaders about a resolution critical of ObamaCare that is set to pass on Wednesday at the AFL-CIO convention.
Union leaders have been tight-lipped about the calls coming from Washington, but at least one labor official said he understands that the Obama administration has been watching the resolution’s progress and expressing a desire that it not move forward.
Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, said the White House would rather not have the AFL-CIO pass a resolution that lays out several complaints against the healthcare law.
“My understanding is [the calls are] to encourage that the resolution not to be brought to the floor and allow the administration to address the concerns with a commitment, an attempt to resolve some of the issues,” Schaitberger said. “My understanding is that they would have preferred that no resolution be brought to the floor.”
At an early Wednesday morning meeting, the AFL-CIO Executive Council decided to move the ObamaCare resolution onto the convention floor for a vote, several union officials told The Hill.
Schaitberger said no one from the administration has brought up the resolution with him during the convention, but he is aware of intense interest from the White House and Labor Secretary Tom Perez.
“I know there have been phone calls to several leaders, particularly those directly involved in development of the resolution. I know there have been a number of meetings and discussions with a variety of presidents from various unions and the secretary of Labor,” Schaitberger said.
Other union leaders said they too were aware of the White House calling labor leaders about the resolution.
“I don’t think it’s ‘Don’t do a resolution.’ It’s about setting a resolution that lays out the problems and sets the framewor
California Assembly passes new regulations on fracking
September 11, 2013 at 6:41 pm by Bloomberg
By Mark Melnicoe
California lawmakers weighing the prospects of the largest U.S. shale-oil reserves are poised to give final approval to regulations strengthening state oversight of the extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing.
The third-largest oil-producing state would for the first time require permits for drillers who use the method of forcing water, sand and chemicals underground to break up rock formations. Energy companies would also have to disclose the fracking fluid ingredients and notify nearby landowners.
Technological advancements in fracking have ignited a boom in development of wells once deemed uneconomical, particularly shale oil. California’s Monterey Shale may hold 15.4 billion barrels — two-thirds of the nation’s shale-oil reserves, according to federal estimates.
“There are still many unanswered questions,” said the bill’s author, Senator Fran Pavley, a Democrat from Agoura Hills near Los Angeles. “It is in the interest of all Californians to monitor and regulate these practices.”
The regulations cleared the Assembly today and return to the Senate to reconcile changes before going to Governor Jerry Brown, a 75-year-old Democrat. Evan Westrup, a spokesman for the governor, said Brown intends to sign the bill into law.
The measure “comprehensively addresses potential impacts from fracking, including water and air quality, seismic activity and other potential risks,” Westrup said.
The Natural Resources Defense Council, California League of Conservation Voters, Clean Water Action and Environmental Working Group, which backed earlier versions of the measure, withdrew their support, saying the bill was too watered down.
“This bill will not protect Californians from the enormous threats of fracking pollution,” said Kassie Siegel, senior counsel of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “
EU votes for 6 percent cap on first-generation biofuels
The EU plenary vote and a very vocal European Biodiesel Board in the days prior to the event
By Ron Kotrba | September 11, 2013
In a much-anticipated vote today, the EU Parliament plenary decision on where to cap first-generation biofuels in Europe’s Renewable Energy Directive came down to a narrow agreement of 6 percent. This cap is lower than the biofuels industries pushed for, and higher than anti-biofuel lobbies desired.
Nuria Molina, director of policy and campaigns for ActionAid, one of the many organizations in support of a lower cap on EU first-generation biofuels, had this to say about the vote, and where the next battleground in this war will be fought.
“The baton now passes to the UK government, which must fight in within Europe to make sure the cap on biofuels is as low as possible, and no higher than 5 percent. A UK position of anything higher would be a failure to live up to David Cameron's promise made at this summer’s G8 to tackle global hunger.”
ActionAid’s Sept. 11 press release goes on to say:
“MEPs were voting to cap the amount of land-based and food-based biofuels used in transport fuel. In October, the European Commission proposed a cap of 5 percent on the amount of food that can be used to meet the overall 10 percent target for renewable energy in transport by 2020. This proposal was welcomed by development and green groups as a first step in the right direction to control the promotion of the first-generation biofuels industry. But wrangling in the European Parliament led to a watering down of the Commission’s limitation, particularly by the industry committee, which had proposed a 6.5 percent cap.”
Regarding an advanced biofuels subtarget in the vote, today the European Biodiesel Board said the European Parliament provided a schizophrenic proposal maintaining present double-counting support but excluding used cooking oil and animal fats from the 2.5 percent specific target alloc
FTC will look into fuel pump fight between ethanol producers, Big Oil
By Jon Lesage
Posted Sep 10th 2013 7:57AM
Two US senators have asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to find out if Big Oil is pulling strings to block gas stations from accessing gasoline blended with extra ethanol – or 15 percent ethanol (E15). Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D – MN) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R – IA) said they've received reports of oil companies pushing independent gas stations to sell premium gasoline along with regular gasoline. Since most US fuel stations are built with two large storage tanks, pressure to bring in premium grade gas, E15 wouldn't make it to these gas stations. The senators would like to find out from the FTC if the oil companies' actions were a possible antitrust violation. The FTC said in a letter that it would look into the issue.
Klobuchar and Grassley represent two states where a lot of corn is grown and ethanol is produced. The federal Renewable Fuel Standard calls for 16.55 billion gallons of biofuels to be sold this year and 18.5 billion gallons in 2014. The US Environmental Protection Agency admits that the US may have hit the "blend wall," where more biofuel is being produced than the amount that is being demanded. The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers and the American Petroleum Institute have been petitioning to get that biofuel volume down to a little more than 14.8 billion gallons for next year. Big Oil has been warning Washington that producing too much biofuel would mean "severe economic harm" for the US. The American Petroleum Institute thinks that the senators' allegations are "a distraction from the fact that the [renewable fuels standard] is broken."
While the EPA has approved the use of E15 in newer cars, demand for it hasn't yet grown. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) says there are only about 30 gas station in eight states offering E15. Biofuel organizations say oil companies are pulling shenanigans to stop E15 f
Japan hopes to blow ahead in renewables with floating wind farm
by Minoru Matsutani
Sep 10, 2013
The renewable energy sector plays a key part in Japan’s growth strategy. Among options such as solar and geothermal, wind power may be the most suitable for Japan as it is surrounded by the ocean.
Winds are strong and stable at the ocean due to the absence of structures blocking the wind. The noise and vibrations from wind turbines disturbing residents is another reason the ocean is preferable.
The challenge is that the ocean floor around Japan is steep, so it would only make sense if wind turbines float. But there are no floating offshore wind farms in the world.
Japan’s answer is to create the world’s first wind farm off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture.
“It’s the best solution for Japan,” said Takeshi Ishihara, a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Engineering. The university, along with several manufacturing companies, formed a consortium to build the wind farm.
Potential for wind power generation is huge in Japan, he said. According to the Environment Ministry, the amount of offshore wind energy that can be potentially generated in Japan is 1.6 billion kilowatts, 10 times that of solar power and 100 times that of thermal power and small and mid-size hydraulic power. It is also eight times the current capacity of Japan’s power companies.
Japan lags very much behind European countries in wind power generation. Wind power accounts for less than 1 percent of power generation in Japan, Ishihara said.
Meanwhile, Britain, for example, aims to increase wind power and its goal is to have a third of its power generated from wind.
“Japan should also have a similar goal,” Ishihara said.
There have been legitimate reasons, however, for Japan to have stayed away from wind power.
One of the reasons is that Japan has not had the experience and know-how of building and maintaining wind t
Project Liberty data shows viability of biomass harvesting
By Poet-DSM Advanced Biofuels | September 11, 2013
Harvesting crop residue for cellulosic ethanol production is consistent with good farm management, according to the latest data from researchers with Iowa State University and USDA.
The work was commissioned by Poet-DSM Advanced Biofuels to ensure the sustainability of the joint venture’s plans to build cellulosic ethanol plants and license technology to producers in the U.S. and abroad. The research, by Doug Karlen with USDA and Stuart Birrell with ISU, was conducted in fields near Emmetsburg, Iowa, the site of Project Liberty, Poet-DSM’s 20 million-gallon-per-year cellulosic ethanol plant currently under construction. The facility will use corn-crop residue – cobs, leaves, husk and some stalk – to produce renewable fuel. It is slated to come online in early 2014.
The research, now in its fifth year, evaluated the possible effects of biomass removal on soil nutrient levels and grain yields over various rates of removal. Poet-DSM’s proposed rate of removal is approximately 1 ton per acre, which is 20-25 percent of the above-ground biomass.
“In summary, both grain yields and soil nutrient levels were not significantly affected by stover harvest treatments,” Birrell said in a research summary.
Fields with yields above 175 bushels per acre could remove up to 2 tons of biomass per acre, according to Birrell and Karlen. Based on the data, Poet-DSM recommends no changes in nitrogen or phosphorous applications, due to residue removal. Some biomass providers could benefit from adding a small amount of potassium.
Farmers around Emmetsburg have had positive experiences in this new ag market.
“As yields increase, I’m seeing more and more biomass on my field,” said Bruce Nelson, an area farmer who harvests biomass on both his own farm and others’ fields. “Removing some of that material has actually improved how my farm operates. It’s a great opportunity for farm