North Dakota is an agricultural state and much of our land area is in working farms and ranches. There are many opportunities in the area of agriculture-related energy production on the horizon. The federal Oak Ridge National Laboratory ranks North Dakota first in the nation in the potential to produce perennial energy crops. Utilizing biomass for energy production may have many benefits, including improved national security, increased economic growth and broad-based environmental benefits.
Biomass is simply all plant and animal matter on the Earth’s surface. Harvested biomass may be used to generate various forms of energy, such as heat, electricity, biofuels and other biobased products. Examples of biomass include wood waste, energy crops, crop residues and other forms of organic waste.
North Dakota State University estimates a direct economic impact of more than $180 million annually from a 50-million gallon biorefinery that is converting wheat straw to ethanol. Researchers at NDSU and UND’s Energy & Environmental Research Center are actively engaged in biomass research.
Great River Energy (GRE) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Danish Company Inbicon, who has agreed to license their cellulosic ethanol technology for the development of a biorefinery – Dakota Spirit AgEnergy – at the Spiritwood Energy Park near Jamestown. Dakota Spirit AgEnergy is a two-phase project – first constructing a 60 million gallon conventional ethanol facility and then constructing a 10 million gallon cellulosic “bolt-on” facility. The second phase of the project will convert wheat straw and/or corn stover into cellulosic ethanol, C5 molasses and lignin pellets.
Several new programs under the 2008 Farm Bill, including the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), will provide incentives and assistance to producers and processors of biomass. ADM’s Northern Sun in Enderlin is a qualified biomass conversion facility under the BCAP program. The BCAP program final rule was published in the Federal Register on October 27, 2010.
American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009