EBI Network and Pennycress Energy to explore alternative energy source

April 4, 2012 04:16 PM
pennycress
 
Pennycress Energy and the EBI Network are promoting Pennycress as a renewable, alternative energy fuel crop for the Galesburg/West Central Illinois Region. The project, generating interest among growers, will identify possible investors and explore a press mill in the region. Gary Camarano, Global Strategies Director for the EBI Network, said, "We want to work with Pennycress Energy and help them move the project forward. While we want to work with our traditional businesses and industry, we also want to be working with new cutting edge companies that can help diversify our economic base. Galesburg has been called the ‘front door to a new, clean, green and sustainable industry cluster,’ and this is a project that fits that description."
 
Camarano continued, "We are investigating this project and helping create an interest among regional growers. This is an innovative project. We’ll be able to help develop an alternative, sustainable fuel source; help decrease our dependency on foreign oil; create jobs; and put several million dollars into our farming communities. This looks like an incredible win-win-win situation to us."
 
Regarding the possible project being located in the West Central region, State Representative Don Moffitt added, "As a farmer and legislator, this is a project I would like to see studied further. Agriculture is something we do very well here, and if we can use that to be part of the ‘new economy’ – that is green and sustainable, and add real value and jobs, I think we should take a serious look at it."
 
Pennycress is an alternative, renewable fuel crop. A non-food member of the mustard family, pennycress is a winter annual with a late May/early June harvest allowing farmers to double crop with soybeans. Pennycress forms low-growing rosettes in the fall, acting as a cover crop and protecting the soil from erosion. Pennycress has 36% oil content, twice that of soybeans, and has
a chemical composition ideally suited for conversion to biodiesel or green renewable jet fuel. The presscake (meal) that remains can be used to produce other energy products and may be used as a high protein livestock feed. As a non-food crop, its use as an alternative fuel does not affect our food supply. "As past president of the Illinois Soybean Association, I’ve been a long-time supporter of biodiesel and being able to insert another oil seed crop with these characteristics into the crop rotation is very exciting", said Brad Glenn, Chief Agricultural Officer of Pennycress Energy Company.
 
Pennycress Energy Company has collaborated with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service to perfect ways to cultivate, harvest and process pennycress, as well as produce high-quality biodiesel from its oil. Western Illinois University is another collaborator, developing improved genetic varieties with increased yields and better agronomic practices.
 
The goal of Pennycress Energy Company is to net farmers an additional $100 per acre. There are 40 million acres in the Midwest that would be suitable for pennycress production creating four billion gallons of fuel, adding four billion dollars of additional revenue to the economy and creating 23,000 jobs.
 
For further information please contact Gary Camarano at 309/371-0474, or by email.
 
 

 

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