Ride Along With The Cob Harvest

I wasn’t the only one shooting video at the POET Project LIBERTY Field Day in Emmetsburg, IA. POET was too for POET TV. POET does a great job of using new media channels to communicate their activities. You can also learn more about the event by seeing their photos online and following along with their Project LIBERTY Blog.

In this video clip you’ll find:

Sitting inside a Claas Lexion 595 Combine as it goes through a corn field collecting corn and corn cobs. The cobs were carried in a Redekop H165 cob collection device towed behind the combine.

John Deere Developing Corn Cob Harvest Options

POET Project LIBERTY EquipmentThere were 16 different equipment manufacturers involved with POET’s Project LIBERTY Field Day. One of them was John Deere, represented by Dean Acheson, Manager, Solutions Development. Dean says that what they’re working on is completely customer based. He says they don’t want to be slowed down during harvest and they want to keep up a high level of productivity.

The prototype equipment they had on display was a one pass, two stream cob collection system. On the back of their combine they have a new prototype piece of equipment that allows the grain to follow a normal path and the cobs then flow out of an attachment on the back of the combine. He says the equipment allows you some flexibility in how you choose or handle what is being harvested. A wagon is pulled by a tractor alongside the combine to collect the cobs. They’re currently not endorsing the towing of equipment behind their combines but this is equipment that is in development for the future.

You can listen to my interview with Dean below and watch a video clip of their equipment in action.

POET Project LIBERTY Field Day Photo Album

POET CEO Talks About Future Of Ethanol

I know I posted an interview I did with POET CEO Jeff Broin this week but I also recorded his speech to the attendees at their Project LIBERTY Field Day. I thought you would enjoy hearing what he has to say. He starts out pointing to the RFS as a huge opportunity for the ethanol industry and agriculture. He says that legislation is solid and “there’s no risk of that legislation going away.”

He says there is almost a billion tons of ag residue available as biomass to convert to ethanol. That’s the largest source of biomass available for this purpose. He says it’s a little known fact that “over the next 20 years ethanol can almost replace gasoline.” This can be attributed in part to the projected increases in corn yields in the next 10 years.

POET Project LIBERTY Field Day Photo Album

BP Looks to Start Ethanol, Biobutanol Production

bplogoA major oil producer is looking to get into the biofuels business.

This story from Reuters
says BP could start ethanol and biobutanol operations next year:

BP could launch commercial production of grass-based ethanol in the United States in 2010 with partner Verenium, which already has a demonstration cellulosic ethanol facility, Philip New, Chief Executive of BP Biofuels, said.

BP is also planning to launch in 2012/13 commercial output of biobutanol at future biofuel plant in the UK, he said.

The oil company is building a wheat-based ethanol plant near Hull in eastern England in partnership with British Sugar and chemicals group Dupont that is due to come online next year, and plans subsequently to retrofit the facility to convert it to biobutanol output.

The article goes on to say that the plant in England is part of a $200 million BP-Dupont joint research venture.

Project LIBERTY Receives Significant Support From IOWA

IA Lt. Gov. Patty JudgeCorn growers heard from Iowa Lt. Governor Patty Judge at POET’s Project LIBERTY Field Day. She said, “We are seeing for ourselves that cellulosic ethanol is here, that it is viable and that it will transform renewable fuel as we know it today”. It was a cold, breezy day and she talked General Wesley Clark out of his jacket.

She reminded attendees about how they tried to hold meetings like this back in the early 1990’s to promote ethanol and how it was a slow process but she said they knew it would become a viable reality. So as a farmer and Lt. Gov. she says a lot of work has gone in to making a day like this happen. She says this POET project is helping keep Iowa at the forefront of renewable energy production. She says the state has made a total investment in this project of $20 million and that the funds will make the project a reality and help create new jobs. She pledged that she and the Governor would do all they can to increase the demand for ethanol.

POET Project LIBERTY Field Day Photo Album

You can listen to Judge’s speech below:

Work Is Not Done To Develop Ethanol Industry

Wesley ClarkOne of the stars on hand to address the crowd at POET’s Project LIBERTY Field Day was former four-star General Wesley Clark. He spoke about the important role they would play in providing more homegrown fuel for the nation.

“We are involved in something that is historic,” Clark said. “We are going to significantly reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources, and we will strengthen America’s national security.” He says it’s a big step for American agriculture but the work is not done and encouraged attendees to get involved and join Growth Force to help influence what is being done in Washington, DC. Clark told me after his speech how much he enjoys getting out and interacting with farmers. I think he really likes “the field” although he excelled in a different one than you’ll find here in Iowa.

Clark is Co-Chairman for Growth Energy, a ZimmComm sponsor.

POET Project LIBERTY Field Day Photo Album

You can listen to Clark’s speech below and special thanks to Ken Anderson, Brownfield Network, for helping me out with the audio:

Dresser Wayne Promotes Eco-Fuel Dispensers

Scott Negley“It’s what we do. We sell blenders to everyone,” said Scott Negley, director of alternative energy products at Dresser Wayne. Blender pumps are gaining momentum across the country. They allow a retailer the flexibility to dispense various forms of gasoline and biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. Negley told me during the NACS show that 80 percent of the dispensers they sell are blender pumps.

“There is significant demand for blender pumps. That’s what we do best. We’ve been doing it for years,” said Negley. Actually, the company sold its first mechanical blender back in the mid-50s. Today, they have just debuted their new Eco-fuels blender series.

This series has the latest innovation in hydraulic technology that allows retailers to sell blended products from two hoses at the same fueling point. This allows for separation (which many states have legislated) of low and high-blend ethanol or biodiesel. The dispenser is customizable in 1 percent increments allowing retailers to sell the most popular blends of fuels, such as E30.

Another unique feature of the Eco-fuel series is that the dispensers have not only been designed for what fuels we have today, but the fuels we may have in the future. Negley noted that oil companies are working on fuels that will meet the CARB and RFS2 requirements. In addition, Dresser Wayne has products designed to dispense propane in Europe and is now in the process of developing a compressed natural gas (CNG) product.

You can listen to my full interview with Scott where he also discusses where UL is in the certification process and how that effects retailers.

Project LIBERTY Field Day Underway

Jeff BroinPOET CEO Jeff Broin, seen here being interviewed in the field this morning, is glad for sunshine. At last year’s Project LIBERTY Field Day we had a wet one.

We watched several different equipment manufacturers display their latest products to handle collecting the corn cobs for use in cellulosic ethanol production. I’ve got video clips of them in action which I’ll be posting in coming days. In the meantime you can see photos in the photo album which I just updated.

POET Project LIBERTY Field Day Photo Album

Before we got started I interviewed Jeff about what we should expect. He emphasizes the importance of cellulosic ethanol production and what utilizing corn cobs as a biomass will mean to farmers and rural America. You can listen to my interview with Jeff below or watch the video:

World Ethanol Leaders Gather in Paris

F.O. Licht’s World Ethanol 2009 12th annual conference kicks off today in Paris, France where leaders in ethanol development around the world have gathered.

The conference features perspectives on global ethanol development from industry leaders in countries such as the United States, Brazil, India, France, Germany, Demark, Belgium and Nigeria.

Among the US representatives is Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), who will be presenting to the conference “American Ethanol – The Path Forward” which will include a look at expanding ethanol markets and addressing unsubstantiated claims about the environmental impact of ethanol. Following Dinneen’s presentation will be Margo Oge, Director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, who will talk about “Life-Cycle Assessments for the Renewable Fuels Standard.” Both will speak to the conference Tuesday morning, Paris time.

Follow Dinneen’s comments about the conference on his Twitter account twitter.com/ethanolbob.

Synthetic Cellulosome May Improve Fermentation

A team of researchers led by UC Riverside Professor of Chemical Engineering Wilfred Chen has constructed for the first time a synthetic cellulosome in yeast, which has the potential to improve the production of renewable fuel.

A team of researchers led by UC Riverside Professor of Chemical Engineering Wilfred Chen has constructed for the first time a synthetic cellulosome in yeast, which has the potential to improve the production of renewable fuel.

A team of University of California, Riverside (UCR)  researchers, led by Wilfred Chen, Professor of Chemical Engineering, has for the first time, constructed a synthetic cellulosome in yeast. According to Chen, this synthetic cellulosome is much more ethanol-tolerant than the bacteria in which these structures are commonly found.

Cellulosomes are self-assembled structures found on the the exterior of certain bacteria that allow the organisms to efficiently break down cellulose. The artificial cellulosome developed at UCR is highly modular and can be engineered to display ten or more different cellulases, the composition of which can be tuned to optimize hydrolysis of any feedstock.

Chen’s team is focusing on the conversion of non-food related materials like cellulosic biomass and wood wastes for conversion to bioethanol. According to the Chen, this construction is important because it could enable a more efficient on-step “consolidated bioprocessing” by maximizing the catalytic efficiency of cellulosic hydrolysis with simultaneous fermentation. Ordinarily, these are separate steps. The consolidation signals more efficiency and less costs in the process.

The process is described in the paper “Functional Assembly of Minicellulosomes on the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Cell Surface for Cellulose Hydrolysis and Ethanol Production,” in the October 1, 2009, issue of the American Society of Microbiology’s journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.