Cellulosic Ethanol Plant Opens in Kansas

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

On October 17, Abengoa opened up the second commercial scale plant in the country to produce ethanol from cellulosic materials. After decades of technology development, this new milestone offers hope for renewable transportation from non-food crops.

The plant is located in Hugoton in southwest Kansas and will use corn stover, stalk and leaf residues from cropping. The plant will use 1,000 tons of biomass per day to make 25 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year, providing a projected $17 million to local farmers. The plant uses enzymatic hydrolysis technology that also produces heat and power from residual biomass.

The Hugoton plant had been selected as a “project area” by the USDA Farm Services Agency under the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). A project area is a designated region around a biomass conversion facility where incentives for the crops apply. In this case, that includes six counties around Abengoa, one in the Oklahoma panhandle.

The project had been intended to purchase from farmers perennial native grasses such as switchgrass, big bluestem, and indiangrass. These crops offer the potential for reduced water consumption and, also, streamside buffers to reduce runoff to surface waters. They encountered difficulty competing with corn production so plans to use prairie grasses appear to be on hold for now.

The plant also qualifies for “matching payments” under BCAP, for matching payments for eligible materials. Any materials or crops paid for under the BCAP program must be harvested in accordance with a conservation plan that addresses soil and water conservation.

Cellulosic ethanol technology has been under development for decades and new commercial-scale production plants have begun to emerge. More details here.

 

 

 

2014 Farm Bill’s Energy Title Provisions

Friday, March 7th, 2014

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A Summary of Key Changes in the Farm Bill’s Energy Title

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

(February 11, 2014) President Barack Obama last week signed a Farm Bill after a long grueling process to renew the bill, after the last one ended in 2012. This is the third Farm Bill to include an Energy Title since the first one was established in 2002. The Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) will provide more in-depth resources in coming days but here is a quick overview of key programs.

Farm Bill Energy Title Funding

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New Farm Bill Preserves Core Clean Energy Programs

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Important Energy Initiatives Good for Rural Development, Jobs, Farm Income

After three years of stops and starts, debate and negotiations, the Congressional Farm Bill Conference Committee has released a compromise bill between the House and the Senate that includes mandatory funding for a downsized Energy Title, including the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). (more…)

Congress Considers Very Different Farm Bills

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

As the Senate continues debate on the Farm Bill, the stakes are high for a growing source of new farm income, jobs, business opportunities and environmental progress. Farm Bill clean energy programs leverage private investment to tap renewable resources of all sorts from America’s agricultural sector as a new, reliable “cash crop” that increases and diversifies income and creates jobs.

The Agriculture Committees of the House and Senate passed sharply different Farm Bills, with big differences for clean energy progress. The Senate Ag Committee provided funding to continue program operations, although at lower levels, while the House Farm Bill eliminates mandatory funding entirely for energy programs.

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115 Diverse Groups Join Call on Congress to Renew Farm Bill Clean Energy Programs

Monday, April 29th, 2013

April 29, 2013 – Today, 115 diverse groups from around the country sent a joint letter to Congress calling for renewal of the clean energy programs in the Farm Bill. Congress Agricultural Committees are working on their third attempt to renew the Farm Bill. (more…)