Grant goes to purchase advanced harvesting equipment

By Holly Jessen | December 12, 2011

The Kansas Alliance for Biorefining and Bioenergy is using a $4.8 million grant to purchase advanced harvesting equipment.  The first piece of equipment purchased was a Stinger Stacker 6500 bale‐handling truck made by Stinger Ltd. of Haven, Kan. “The opportunity to purchase the Stinger Stacker is a real win all around–for KABB, farmers, our harvesting partners, Stinger employees, and the state of Kansas,” says CEO Jeff Roskam. “We now have our first component of what will become the nation’s most advanced harvesting fleet. We’re excited to see the other opportunities that present themselves in the coming months.”

The money is unspent American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds appropriated to the Kansas Corporation Commission’s Energy Division. Unless the money was spent it was required to back to the federal government by April 1. A second project—the installation of an anaerobic digester at Western Plains Energy—received $15.6 million from the same funding source. “Our administration is very focused on ensuring that Kansas is a national leader in renewable energy, and these worthy projects represent areas that can advance the industry, provide for a cleaner environment, grow the Kansas economy and create much needed jobs,” said Gov. Sam Brownback. “I look forward to the success of these projects.”

KABB will use the money to invest in a fleet of advanced harvesting equipment. The goal is to demonstrate cost effective and efficient methods for harvesting, storage and transportation of biomass for energy purposes. “We are confident that this investment will increase farm income on marginal lands, support new crops to extend aquifer life and provide more tonnage for users of plant material,” Roskam says.

KABB was initially funded with $4.1 million from the Kansas Bioscience Authority through the Centers of Innovation Program. In March, KABB announced a $200,000 investment into Biofuels Testing Laboratory at the University of Kansas. “This facility will be an innovative resource that will help position Kansas on the forefront of the emerging bioenergy economy,” Roskam says. “At a time when uncertain world events dictate the ever increasing price of fossil fuels, KABB is working to reduce fuel costs through innovative biofuel research done right here in Kansas.”