Harvesting equipment expected to reduce cellulosic ethanol costs

By Holly Jessen | April 17, 2012

The largest bale picking truck (BPT) in the world is now on display at the International Biomass Conference & Expo in Denver, Colo.  The 600-horsepower bale picking truck is designed to reduce the cost of field collection for square biomass bales with the capability to collect nearly three semi-loads of square bales per hour.

“We believe that advanced equipment could reduce supply chain costs as much as thirty cents per gallon on a cellulosic ethanol basis,” said Jeff Roskam, CEO of the Kansas Alliance for Biorefining and Bioenergy. The first-of-its-kind equipment has eight flotation tires and collects 42 square bales, the equivalent of a semi-truckload, without exceeding soil compaction standards. “No one else has this piece of equipment,” said Russ Gottlob, Feedstox operations manager. “We can’t wait to see the increase in productivity that will result from the consistent use of the BPT.”

The BPT is manufactured for KABB by the Oskaloosa, Iowa, company Kelderman Manufacturing. “The BPT is designed to revolutionize the harvesting of crop residues such as corn stover and wheat straw as well as crops such as switchgrass, miscanthus and alfalfa,” said Gary Kelderman, owner and president of Kelderman.

The BPT and other equipment are available for lease or partnering agreement through Feedstox, a subsidiary of KABB.  Through an agreement to supply advanced biomass supply chain equipment to Feedstox, Kelderman also manufactures a self-propelled baler and self-loading trailers. Feedstox assembled the fleet with the help of a $4.8 million investment of funds administered by the Kansas Department of Commerce.

The biomass conference, organized by BBI International, began April 16 and runs through April 19, ending with tours of the Boulder County Biomass Forestry Operation, Boulder County Biomass District Heating Plant and New Belgium Brewery.