March 07, 2008

Florida Funds Sweet Sorghum to Ethanol

Renergie, Inc. was recently chosen to receive $1.5 million in funding from the Florida's Renewable Energy Technologies Grant Program.

The recipient will design and construct Florida’s first sweet sorghum mechanical harvesting system and sweet sorghum-to-ethanol plant. Once in operation, the plant will be capable of producing five million gallons of ethanol annually.

The project will lead to the development, construction and operation of a commercially viable large-scale decentralized network of sweet sorghum-to-ethanol production plants.

Sweet sorghum’s water requirement is one-third that of sugarcane, is resistant to drought and can be grown in marginal soils, ranging from heavy clay to light sand. Sweet sorghum takes approximately four months to reach maturity, allowing for harvesting twice a year.

Grant Announcement

Most ethanol production has been centered around the midwestern states since that is where the most corn is grown. Sweet sorghum is a plant that is better suited for southern climates and could become the feedstock of choice for ethanol production throughout the southern region of the country.

Since most sweet sorghum is grown to produce sorghum syrup, it might also be possible for plants to be built that could produce either syrup or ethanol depending on market conditions. That would give producers added flexibility and could help to ensure that oversupply doesn't happen for either product.


Anonymous said...

Typical. How is this harvesting equipment going to ensure that the weed is from the ground to a processing plant within 24 hours? If it isn't the sugars begin to oxidize and after 24 hours can no longer be turned into Ethanol. Harvesting is not the problem, everyone knows that. The problem is transport within 24 hours. There is a company called EPEC out there that has been awarded the patent on a mobile processing plant to be put right on the land where the crop is. All a farmer has to do is pour a 4000 square foot concrete slab and bolt it down. The company has 3 more patents pending, and management/engineers of EPEC is absolutely the best of the best. These guys have been building 20-30mm gal capacity soy and corn plants all over the world for many years. I believe a 1 1/2 mm gal mobile processing facility is the way to go. And by the way, research has shown over and over again, that we will NEVER be able to meet the need for Ethanol in this country. EVER.

Michael A. Gregory said...

Why would transport be a problem if the processing plant and the crop were in the same region? The harvest would be spread out of time so that no more cane was harvested and shipped per day than what the plant could process. If you look up what Renergie is trying to do, they are proposing small scale ethanol plants located in the area where the crop is grown and supplying fuel to local outlets.

And what research exactly has shown that we will NEVER, EVER meet the need for ethanol in this country? It all depends on what you assume to be the future market. Suppose for a moment that all vehicles were like the Chevrolet Volt and had a battery only distance of 40 miles and after that initial 40 miles ran on E85. Under those circumstances could ethanol we meet the ethanol needs?

And BTW how well exactly are we doing meeting our own needs for oil? Any research that you know of that shows when we will be able to supply all our own oil and not have to import from other countries?

Anonymous said...

Not to be rude, but you really should check your facts. Last year there was a 36 Billion Gallon shortfall in the U.S. There is a 100 year supply of oil under our ground. Enough for 1-1 1/2 generations. Do we wait longer to find alternatives? The mandatory fuel to etanol mix is 10% here in my state. If that number goes to just 20%, and it will go higher than that, I assure you, the shortfall will then be 72 Billion gallons. Further, why worry about transport at all when a mobile processing facility has been developed and patented that can be put on the same property that the weed grows? Finally, while I respect different points of view, a couple things remain crystal clear: 1) We need to reduce dependence on foreign energy sources. 2) Corn and soy ethanol are DONE. 3)The market for this is going to be big enough that there's enough to go around for everybody who gets involved early to make a lot of money while helping future generations and the planet. With all respect, think what you will, we will NEVER, EVER meet the need in this country. We're all on the same side here. Thanks for the comments.

Michael A. Gregory said...

Rude doesn't bother me as long as it is kept G rated. 36 billion gallon shortfall? We use about 140 billion gallons of gasoline per year. Add the 9 billion gallons of ethanol we produced last year to the 36 billion gallons shortfall that you say we have and you have enough to make the entire gasoline supply E30 with enough left over for E85 sales. 36 billion gallons is almost 3 times more ethanol than was produced in the entire world in 2007.

Somehow I just don't see how anything is going to gained from pouring a concrete pad and transporting a mobile refinery to each location over just hauling the crop a reasonable distance to a fixed refinery.

Corn and soy ethanol are DONE? This is the part that I find somewhat humorous. You say that I need to check my facts and you think that ethanol comes from soy.

Anonymous said...


I am are a moron, they are not going to drive a unit around from farm to farm...its mobile meaning it can be moved but it will be fixed on the farmers property. AND YOU CAN GET ALCOHOL/ETHANOL FROM ANY PLANT...CHECK YOUR FACTS..kelp,grass,hemp, even trees

Michael A. Gregory said...

Well, now that you explain it that way it makes even less sense. Every farmer that wants to get into biofuels production will need to prep the site, apply for all the needed air and water permits, and buy this piece of equipment. Then the farmer would have to learn to work the equipment and how to market the ethanol produced. All that seems like a pretty big bet to make for all but the largest farmers.

Yes, ethanol can be produced from most any plant but is it currently? You said 'Corn and soy ethanol are DONE?'. Can you name any plant in the world producing ethanol from soy currently?

You may be rude but i like you. You make me laugh.

Anonymous said...

No,No, you are funny
I am not the same one who have been going back and forth with I just read your conversation and thought I should jump in and correct your errors.

Why would you think the farmer does anything but farm. "Assuming" anything else would be ignorant.

If you know how to use google you can easily find plants currently using soy for ethanol

(Stroburg's co-op is one of the largest in Iowa. It has 3,500 farmer owners, $400 million in annual sales, and handles 72 million bushels of grain a year. As a value-added venture, it invested in soybean processing facilities several years ago, and now has become the biggest marketer of soy-based biodiesel in the world.

It producers 12 million gallons of biodiesel, from 9 million bushels of soybeans, a year in Ralston. It also has ownership and/or marketing interests in two other biodiesel plants, in Albert Lea, Minnesota, and Cincinnati, Ohio, with 60 million gallons of capacity total.)

So please stop trying so hard to be smarter than everyone else....

Michael A. Gregory said...

OK, I finally looked up the website and looked at the program. There is just enough information on the website about the program to make a sales pitch but not enough to really make an informed decision. It is hard to see how it would work out to a farmers advantage to go with a program such as this. But if it is a business plan that has merit it will go fine. If not it won't. Time will tell.

If I took the time to look at every deal that someone posts in a comment or emails to me I would never get anything of my own done.

Nice example, but it is an example of farmers producing biodiesel from soy not ethanol. If you are unsure of the differences between ethanol and biodiesel google can help you out with that.

You caught me. Thankfully though I don't always have to try too hard....

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