Company Developing On-Farm Ethanol Plants

Nat Williams reported on Saturday at Illinois Farmer Today Online that, “A handful of farmers are not just raising the crops that can be used as biofuels.  They’re also working on producing the fuel itself.

A Minnesota-based company is in the developmental stage of offering small-scale production of ethanol and other end-products right on the farm.”

The article explained that, “The company [Easy Energy Systems], manufactures modules that can be linked to build ‘micro biorefineries’ right on the farm. Feedstocks include corn, grain sorghum, sugar beets and unharvested waste products, such as fruits and vegetables.”

“[Mark Gaalswyk, who works for the company]  said the company’s engineers are testing 47 different feedstocks to determine feasibility of manufacturing various end-products. One project involving the manufacture of n-butanol is being tested on the Iowa farm of Harry Stine, founder of Stine Seeds. He said another project is being tested with cooperation of the Koch brothers, billionaire entrepreneurs and owners of Koch Industries.

“Easy Energy is also working with Iowa State University on cellulosic technology. The company will soon begin building initial modules that convert feedstocks into sugar water and then into n- butanol.”

Mr. Williams added that, “Not surprisingly, building an ethanol plant — even a small one — is not cheap. It can take an investment of $20 million. But sales manager Tom Gallagher pointed out that a farmer can raise the money by a combination of sources that includes grants and leveraged money.”

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