Energy crop company Ceres, Inc. will trial improved switchgrass cultivars and high-biomass sorghum hybrids with Range Fuels, Inc. as part of a cooperative field trialing program at the site of Range Fuels’ commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant, now under construction near Soperton, Georgia, about 150 miles southeast of Atlanta.
While wood residues will be the primary feedstock for the Range Fuels biorefinery, Ceres said that Range Fuels is also interested in better understanding the economic, environmental and logistical attributes of non-food, low-carbon grass species in the production of cellulosic biofuels. These grass species have a number of advantages: they have relatively rapid breeding cycles, they are highly efficient at storing sunlight in the form of carbohydrates, and they are widely adapted.
Last spring, Ceres provided seed of new, high-yielding varieties that was planted in demonstration plots on Range Fuels’ Soperton Plant site. The crops will be assessed for several years.
Ceres recently announced that it will commercialize its first seed varieties under the trade name Blade Energy Crops. (Earlier post.)