NexSteppe sells its Palo Alto high biomass sorghum in Brazil

By NexSteppe | April 24, 2014

NexSteppe, a company dedicated to pioneering the next generation of sustainable feedstock solutions for the biobased industries, recently announced that it sold more than 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of its Palo Alto high biomass sorghums for biopower in Brazil this past growing season. This makes it the market share leader in the fast-growing market for bioenergy sorghums in Brazil, with 65 percent market share.

NexSteppe’s Palo Alto high biomass sorghums can be used alongside bagasse and other sources of biomass to provide a source of renewable power. Unlike wind and solar, biopower is baseload power, meaning it is available 24/7. In addition to production of electricity for the grid, biopower can therefore also be used as onsite industrial power. This is common practice in Brazil for everything from sugar and ethanol production to grain drying to food processing.

As a result of the significant drought this year, Brazil is experiencing a shortage of hydropower, its main energy source. NexSteppe’s Palo Alto high biomass sorghums are therefore a welcome new addition to Brazil’s energy matrix. Because of their heat and drought tolerance, Palo Alto hybrids performed well even under this year’s extreme conditions.

Standing at up to 20 feet tall after only four months of growth, NexSteppe’s Palo Alto high biomass sorghum hybrids provide a high-yielding, low-cost, high quality biomass feedstock for biopower. Designed to have low moisture levels at maturity, Palo Alto high biomass sorghums offer reduced harvest and transport costs and greater energy production.

With Brazil’s energy needs growing at 5 percent per year, Brazil needs to add to its power generation capacity and diversify away from its dependence on hydropower. Given its immense agricultural resources, biopower can play a significant role in meeting Brazil's growing energy demand. Due to their rapid growth, high yield and low moisture levels at harvest plus their lower water needs and ability to grow on more marginal land, NexSteppe’s Palo Alto high biomass sorghums can enable the growth of biopower in Brazil.

“In addition to product quality and performance, a large part of our success this year was due to our strong focus on development of technical information regarding optimal agronomic and management practices for this new crop and transferring this information to our customers,” said Commercial Director for South America Tatiana Gonsalves.

According to CEO Anna Rath, “NexSteppe is singularly focused on bringing to market feedstock products that will enable the biobased industries to achieve scale, cost-effectiveness and sustainability. Our Palo Alto high biomass sorghums in Brazil are a first example of this. We believe these products will play a critical role in enabling the continued development of these industries in Brazil and around the world. We are already seeing strong global demand for these products and have trials completed or in process with potential commercial partners in 12 countries on five continents.”