Biomass Companies Growing Feedstock on Location

In order to fulfill the demand for biomass power plant feedstock, energy companies are buying and leasing land in close proximity to generation stations in order to grow short rotation crops like bamboo to feed their power plants. A good example in this sector is Clenergen (CRGEE) who, in collaboration with its agriculture partners in India and the Philippines, will commence six (6) month trials of Marjestica, Beema Bamboo and Melia dubia on 150 acres in Valliyur, Tamilnadu in September 2010. This is all in preparation to completion of commercial plantations beginning in March, 2011 in a nearby location in the State of Tamilnadu. Additionally, Clenergen has a sublease agreement for 5000 acres of land in Valliyur, Tamilnadu and an agreement to sublease for 4,000 more acres of land near Tutitcorin, Tamilnadu, to support plantations as part of a requirement for needed feedstock for a new 32mw/H biomass power plant scheduled for commissioning in 2012. Furthermore, the company has undertaken 5,000 acres of land in Valliyur, Tamilnadu.

Both the regions benefit from high rainfall and are very suitable for short rotation biomass crop cultivation. The trials will be in parcels of 25 acres where the density will vary in order to determine the optimum yield from the crops. Marjestica will be supplied from tissue culture saplings that have been treated with the Tree Adaption Process (Polyploidisation) and Beema Bamboo from micro propagated saplings produced from tissue culture. Melia dubia saplings will be supplied from a cloned variety originating from a local farm located on 250 acres of land at Komangalam, Tamilnadu.

This type of ingenuity is what makes renewable energy an exciting sector. Imagine for a minute generating energy with a short growth cycle crop, produced on site, at reduced costs, all with a smaller environmental footprint. Interest in using biomass feedstock to produce power, liquid fuels, and chemicals worldwide is increasing. A key point in determining the potential for this industry’s future development is to understand the importance of the location, the available quantities and prices of biomass feedstock. Biomass feedstock are classified into various categories and although several different types of biomass can be used, dedicated energy crops, such as those promoted by Clenergen, among others are expected to be the main source globally for feedstock generation. Dedicated energy crops include short rotation bamboo and wood crops such as Marjestica, Beema Bamboo and Melia dubia.

Currently, dedicated energy crops are not produced in the United States, but instead overseas in emerging markets like India and the Philippines. As mentioned above, Clenergen Corp takes this concept one additional step by locating these plantations close to the actually generation station to ensure a constant supply of feedstock for the power plant. This company, with others in the industry, is making diligent efforts to create energy solutions which reduce their footprint and provide a badly needed, constant supply of energy using ingenious methods like short rotation bamboo and woody crops as feedstock.

Article contributed by Gregory Bair.

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