Flick Seed Co./Missouri Bioenergy
Section 9006 Grant: $95,500
Flick Seed Company is a native grass seed processing and prairie restoration company in west-central Missouri that purchases seed crops from area contract growers. Each year, the company pays a hauler to landfill millions of pounds of grass residue from the seed extraction process. Steve Flick, the company’s owner, determined that the grass residue had an usually high energy value of about 10,000 BTUs/pound so he decided that he could make a renewable fuel from the waste material.
Flick formed a new company, Missouri Bioenergy, to transform the waste into a renewable fuel. The company built a facility to process up to 15 million pounds of seed residue annually into fuel pellets. These pellets will have a variety of fuel uses, including co-firing with coal in pulverized coal plants and as a fuel for industrial boilers and home heating units. The facility went online in June 2006.
USDA awarded a $95,000 Section 9006 grant to the company to help fund this $2.5 million project. The company also received a planning/feasibility grant from USDA’s Value-Added Producer Program and state grants.
The remainder of the project’s financing comes from private sources, including an investment by Show Me Energy, the first biomass cooperative in the country.
Flick Seed Company is also working to develop a mix of seed-bearing grass crops that have an energy value of as much as 26,000 BTUs/pound, almost four times the equivalent energy value of a pound of coal. This would completely change the economics of growing energy crops for farmers. As Steve Flick explained, “if we can put a man on the moon, surely we can grow kilowatts on the ground.”