Repreve Renewables deploys innovative biomass crop system

By Repreve Renewables | May 01, 2014

Repreve Renewables is collaborating with farmers and landowners in the United States to grow giant miscanthus grass for renewable product solutions, combining an innovative business model with proprietary equipment technologies custom-built for rhizome-propagated crop production. This innovative approach provides an economic alternative for leveraging marginal and underutilized land.

The need for alternative sources to fossil fuels and other bio-based products continues to increase, yet the ability to meet demand lags because commercial-scale production isn't viable.

However, Repreve Renewables has developed a comprehensive solution for planting biomass on a commercial scale, including solving the significant challenge of establishing rhizome-propagated crops, explains Jeff Wheeler, chief executive officer. "In demonstration of our commitment to innovation, Repreve Renewabzles solves the challenge of commercial biomass production with the deployment this spring of the ACCU YIELD system to locations throughout the United States to plant giant miscanthus grass for commercial biomass production."

The system is comprised of three elements: the ACCU LIFTER machine lifts rhizomes from a field in such a manner that reduces damage to the rhizomes thus increasing viability; the ACCU PROCESSOR unit sizes and cleans rhizomes for improved germination and quality and the ACCU DROP planter provides optimal row spacing at varying planting densities to ensure uniform, consistent and rapid stand establishment.

Farmers and landowners in Iowa, Georgia, North Carolina and Wisconsin are among the first to adopt this inventive approach to diversified land management.

"These early adopters of commercial-scale biomass are trailblazers," Wheeler says. "They understand the wealth of advantages to their operations -- to their land, to their profitability, even to their communities -- as they help us grow the biomass we need to meet our customers' demands. We provide turnkey solutions to farmers and landowners whereby we plant and harvest the crop, plus we provide the market for the harvested crop each year. This unique process also means we can offer an integrated turnkey solution to our customers."

Giant miscanthus grass is a rapidly renewable biomass crop that provides a viable economic alternative for many farmers and landowners with underutilized and marginal land. This land might otherwise lay dormant or fail to provide annual profits. Perennial giant miscanthus grows well under a range of soil and environmental conditions. It requires minimal effort and costs little to grow and maintain. It's a simple, convenient and profitable crop to raise.

For farmers and landowners, the Repreve Renewables program significantly reduces the risk of growing a new crop while providing other benefits. Environmental benefits include improved soil composition, reduced use of inputs compared to other crops and enhanced soil and water conservation. Economic benefits come from leveraging underutilized and marginal land to produce a profitable crop. In addition, there are economic benefits for those in their communities that store, transport and process the material.