NexSteppe launches biomass crops for biofuel, biopower

By NexSteppe | April 19, 2013

NexSteppe, a company dedicated to pioneering the next generation of sustainable feedstock solutions for the biobased industries, has announced the launch of its first sorghum hybrid products in the U.S. and in Brazil. NexSteppe’s new Malibu sweet sorghum hybrids and Palo Alto high biomass sorghum hybrids offer a tailored alternative for companies seeking a cost-effective feedstock solution for the production of advanced and cellulosic biofuels, biopower and biobased products.

Named for the city where the company was founded, NexSteppe’s Malibu sweet sorghum hybrids have been optimized to provide an easily accessible source of fermentable sugars for the production of advanced biofuels and biobased products. Malibu sweet sorghums can be used as a complement to sugarcane to provide additional feedstock for existing sugar-to-ethanol mills. Because of their lower water requirements, Malibu sweet sorghums can also provide a fermentable sugar feedstock in areas where sugarcane does not perform well. Our first generation of Malibu sweet sorghum hybrids is designed to provide a wide range of maturities to meet varying customer harvest-window profiles. Several of these hybrids were also selected for their yield performance in tropical short day-length environments to help enable year-round production.

Standing at 20 feet tall after only four months of growth, NexSteppe’s Palo Alto high biomass sorghum hybrids provide a high-yielding, low-cost biomass feedstock for biopower, including biogas, and cellulosic biofuels. Designed to have low moisture levels at maturity, Palo Alto high biomass sorghums significantly lessen the amount of water harvested, thereby reducing the harvest and transport costs that can be 50 percent or more of total delivered feedstock cost. Lower moisture levels also provide a higher effective energy density for combustion.

 “NexSteppe is singularly focused on bringing to market feedstock products that will enable the biobased industries to achieve scale, cost-effectiveness and sustainability. We believe these first products will play a critical role in enabling the continued development of these industries in both the U.S. and Brazil,” said Anna Rath, NexSteppe CEO.

“Through a combination of directed conventional breeding, marker-assisted breeding and cutting-edge analytical techniques, NexSteppe has developed and is continuously improving an elite germplasm collection,” said  Jerry O’Rear, vice president of breeding and agronomy at NexSteppe. “Our breeding efforts in Texas, Puerto Rico and Brazil, diverse field screening locations and advanced compositional analysis capabilities enable NexSteppe to develop hybrids specifically optimized for particular end-uses and key geographic regions.”