NexSteppe demonstrates biomass crops at commercial scale

By NexSteppe | April 16, 2015

NexSteppe, a company dedicated to pioneering the next generation of sustainable feedstock solutions for the biobased industries, has announced that it sold more than 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) of its Palo Alto biomass sorghums in Brazil this past growing season, compared to just over 1,000 hectares in the previous year. Just as many of the leaders of the biobased economy have begun proving their conversion technologies at commercial scale, NexSteppe has now demonstrated a scalable, reliable, cost-effective, high-quality feedstock to supply these industries.

According to CEO Anna Rath, “As various sectors of the bioeconomy achieve commercial scale, it is clear that dedicated crops optimized for these end uses are critical for enabling these industries to achieve their potential, both in terms of size and sustainability. Wastes and residues will never be enough. With our achievement of commercial scale in Brazil and successful trial results around the globe, NexSteppe’s Palo Alto biomass sorghums can provide the backbone of bankable projects and catalyze the continued growth of these industries.”

At yields of 20-25 dry tons per hectare, 10,000 hectares of NexSteppe’s Palo Alto biomass sorghum can provide 200,000-250,000 dry tons of biomass. This amount of biomass can generate 120,000-300,000 MWh of biomass power depending on conversion efficiency. This is also the amount of biomass required for one year of operation in the first commercial scale cellulosic biofuels facilities recently completed or under development by Chemtex, GranBio, Abengoa, POET/DSM, DuPont and Raizen among others. This is the first time dedicated biomass crops have been demonstrated at this scale in such a short time frame and in the absence of a government policy program funding their planting.

Being a drop-in feedstock alongside sugarcane bagasse for Brazil’s existing biomass power industry has allowed Palo Alto biomass sorghums to scale-up rapidly to meet growing demand for biomass. Now the breeding improvement, management practices and supply chain know-how that have been developed through this use can be brought to newer sectors of the bioeconomy that require significant investments and a proven, bankable feedstock like Palo Alto biomass sorghum.