Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Energy Beets: Who will Leap First?

Ethanol Producer Magazine
By Holly Jessen April 11, 2012

North American sugar-to-ethanol strategy differs from Brazil’s, Europe’s

The technology isn’t the issue. Clear examples of ethanol production from sugar beets and energy beets already exist. And, yet—despite the potential of the feedstock—North America has yet to see a full-scale beet-to-ethanol production facility built.

However, there’s been some exciting progress lately. North Dakota-based Green Vision Group is resolutely moving forward with a plan to build multiple 20 MMgy dedicated energy beet plants in the state. The quest began in 2007 and took some big leaps in early 2012, when it received $1 million in funding from the North Dakota Renewable Energy Council and other sources, says Maynard Helgaas, president. Around the same time, North Dakota State University, which has been assisting with the project, submitted an energy beet ethanol life-cycle analysis to the U.S. EPA in an effort to get it qualified as an advanced biofuel. The group has its first location selected, although it hasn’t been announced yet, and hopes to begin processing ethanol by fall 2014. “It wouldn’t take us long once we complete our research to get the most efficient processing out of energy beets—then we will build the plant,” Helgaas tells EPM.

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