New Energy Farms: Biofuels Digest’s 2015 5-Minute Guide

5-Minute-Guide-logoNew Energy Farms provides a complete solution to sourcing biomass feedstock, with extensive experience in commercial production of high yielding energy grasses.

NEF is a vertically integrated business with operations from plant breeding, provision of planting material and new establishment techniques, through to consolidation of feedstock supplies for projects and full monitoring, including sustainability, of total feedstock supply chains.

NEF operates in the US, Canada, the EU and South America and NEF’s crops are suitable for thermal, liquid, Anaerobic Digestion (AD) and animal feed situations.

CEEDS is a technological breakthrough in the multiplication and planting of vegatatively propagated plant material. Biomass Direct is a Track and Trace system, giving total transparency of the feedstock supply chain, with a unique sustainability tool embedded   in the package, giving GHG emission data at all stages through the supply chain.

The Situation

Syngenta has announced plans to broaden and scale up its PLENE® platform of integrated sugar cane solutions. Through an exclusive licensing agreement with New Energy Farms, Syngenta will access an innovative planting system for sugar cane in Brazil: CEEDS (Crop Expansion Encapsulation and Drilling System). The CEEDS technology enables the realization of PLENE on a commercial scale. It is complementary to PLENE Evolve and PLENE PB, launched last year, which are for nursery production and gap-filling.

In July 2013, New Energy Farms announced the commercial release of its CEEDS technology (Crop, Expansion, Encapsulation and Delivery System), an ‘artificial seed’ technology for use with feedstock crops such as napier grass, sugar cane, energycane, Arundo donax and Miscanthus. These crops are amongst the highest yielding feedstock crops available, but typically cannot be established using conventional seed routes. They have always been established using standard vegetative propagation, which is difficult to scale up and only under very specific conditions can be very large scale, such as sugar cane.

CEEDS planting units are encapsulated and coated pre-grown vegetative tissue, in a soilless medium, greenhouse grown for maximum health (images below). Each planting unit is about the size of a wine cork. They can be planted without hand labour at conventional drill rates, with either NEF equipment designed to establish in conventional, min till or no till situations or some existing onfarm planting equipment. Compared to current planting weights of energy crops in the range of 1 – 10 t/ha for Miscanthus to sugar cane respectively, CEEDS™ require a planted weight of less than 250kg/ha.

Rankings

The 40 Hottest Smaller Companies in the Advanced Bioeconomy: #27, 2014-15

Top Past Milestones

In September 2013, NEF established the first crops of Miscanthus for the University of Iowa Biomass project. The University plans to use as a renewable energy source for the campus power plant, as part of a plan for 40 percent renewable energy consumption.  The crop was established with NEF supplied rhizomes and internal automatic Miscanthus rhizome planters.

In June 2013, The first commercial scale production facility for Miscanthus based bioplastic products was commissioned. This project is a collaboration between New Energy Farms (NEF) and Competitive Green Technologies in Leamington Ontario. A range of consumer products has been developed. The first products are storage bins and plant containers, made from a blend of recycled plastic and high levels of Miscanthus fiber. The products have been produced under an IP based process that is unique and offers significant benefits to the consumer. The process allows products with high levels of plant fiber to be manufactured at the same speed as for using virgin plastic, which is unique. This provides products with less plastic to the customer at competitive prices. The first storage bins have been successfully test marketed at a national chain level. Expansion is planned utilizing this principle with further sites in the US and EU.

In 2011, New Energy Farms announced the formation of a strategic alliance with Global Green Engineered Fuels, a renewable energy project development company based in Savannah.  The Green Energy Farms Alliance will focus on the creation of a diverse solid biofuel product portfolio, driven by high energy values; competitive and stable fuel pricing; optimum sustainability of raw material feedstock resources; and exceptional combustion performance characteristics.

In August 2010, New Energy Farms released two new four-row planters for Miscanthus – an ‘Automatic’ planter has a ‘separation’ system in the rhizome storage hopper to tease apart the individual rhizomes before they are delivered into furrows, and the other a ‘Precision’ planter system.

In 2010, New Energy Farms and Spriggers Choice jointly developed equipment for growers to lift and plant Miscanthus rhizomes.  Miscanthus crops are established by planting rhizomes and New Energy Farms is providing the expertise and equipment for growers to plant their own multiplication crops, lift the rhizomes after one or two seasons, and then plant their own commercial crops.

Major Milestone Goals 

Expansion of clientele in biofuels, biogas, animal bedding, feed, biopower and game cover.

Business Model

Owner/operator

Competitive Edge

An ‘artificial seed’ technology for use with feedstock crops such as napier grass, sugar cane, energycane, Arundo donax and Miscanthus — crops that are amongst the highest yielding feedstock crops available, but typically cannot be established using conventional seed routes.

Research, or Manufacturing Partnerships or Alliances

Global Green Engineered Fuels

University of Illinois

WH Loxton

Global Change Solutions

Lewis Taylor Farms

Muddy Boots

Standen Pearson

Website

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