Perennial grasses, trees and some annual crops can be grown specifically to supply large volumes of uniform, consistent-quality feedstocks for biofuel and biopower production. Verdante BioEnergy Services can assist you with developing a sustainable supply chain and logistics plan for acquiring agricultural feedstocks. We are eager to apply the proprietary aggregation model and risk matrix to agricultural biomass commodities.
Biomass Residues – Agricultural activities generate large amounts of biomass residues. While most crop residues are left in the field to reduce erosion and recycle nutrients back into the soil, some could be used to produce energy without harming the soil. Other wastes such as whey from cheese production and manure from livestock operations can also be profitably used to produce energy while reducing disposal costs and pollution.
Energy Crops – Crops grown for energy could be produced in large quantities, just as food crops are. While corn is currently the most widely used energy crop, native trees and grasses are likely to become the most popular in the future. These perennial crops require less maintenance and fewer inputs than do annual row crops, so they are cheaper and more sustainable to produce.
Grasses – Switchgrass appears to be the most promising herbaceous energy crop. It produces high yields and can be harvested annually for several years before replanting. Other native varieties that grow quickly, such as big bluestem, reed canarygrass, and wheat grass, could also be profitable.
Trees – Some fast-growing trees make excellent energy crops, since they grow back repeatedly after being cut off close to the ground. These short-rotation woody crops can grow to 40 feet in less than eight years and can be harvested for 10 to 20 years before replanting. In cool, wet regions, the best choices are poplar and willow. In warmer areas, sycamore, sweetgum, and cottonwood are best.