‘More than 100 Million Acres’ Said to Be ‘Ideal for Biomass,’
Working Just 1/20 of It Could Yield 7 Billion Gallons of Fuel
More than 100 million acres along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers are unsuitable for traditional crops but are ideal for biomass, says St. Louis-based Enterprise Holdings.
Enterprise cites the work of Prof. Shibu Jose, director of the Center for Agroforestry at the University of Missouri, who also leads the Mississippi/Missouri River Advanced Biomass/Biofuel Consortium. MRABC comprises more than 40 academic institutions and agricultural and energy companies working to turn the Missouri and Mississippi rivers into a “biomass corridor,” Enterprise says.
“Dr. Jose’s preliminary research indicates that approximately 116 million acres of land along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers are unsuitable for traditional food crops but ideal for growing biomass,” states a blog post by Claire Carstensen, an Enterprise sustainability specialist.
Prototype Processing Plant Is Planned
“He estimates that planting biomass crops on just 5% of this land could yield enough raw materials to produce 7 billion gallons of biofuel,” she reports. “Enterprise’s endowment will provide essential funding as Dr. Jose takes the next steps toward a prototype bio-processing facility that will begin producing that fuel,” Carstensen adds.
“In addition to switchgrass as a basis for cellulosic ethanol, crops that could be grown along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers include other perennial grasses such as big bluestem, Indiangrass or annual crops such as biomass sorghum or fast growing woody species such as cottonwood and willows,” Jose told F&F.
The Enterprise Holdings Foundation, a philanthropic arm of Enterprise Holdings, donated $2 million last year to the University of Missouri to establish an endowment for sustainability energy research – helping boost the MRABC work. Enterprise Holdings is the parent of the Enterprise, National and Alamo rent-a-car lines – together comprising “the largest fleet of vehicles in the world” at airport and other locations.
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Source: Enterprise Holdings Foundation with Fleets & Fuels follow-up