All biomass feedstock suppliers are commodity businesses seeking alternative markets for their existing products, alternative products that they can produce for a higher profit, and/or markets for what are traditionally waste products. For example, the farmer growing corn could continue to produce corn grain for animal feed and then could sell some portion of the corn stover (remaining portion of the corn plant) to a biofuel manufacturer or they could stop growing corn and could grow switchgrass (a crop grown purposely for producing biofuels).
Timber producers can currently sell their trees to the saw mill to produce lumber (highest value) or to the pulp mill for paper production (lower-value). Both of these operations produce a certain amount of timber waste that currently has little or no value. In addition, both the lumber producer and the paper producer generate waste that can be used as a feedstock source for biofuel production.
Almost all farmers produce some sort of low-value ‘waste’ stream for which they are seeking alternative markets. For example, all grain producers (rice, wheat, barley, etc.) produce straw, corn growers produce stover, coconut producers generate coconut husks, etc.
In addition, many farmers have marginal lands i.e. lands that produce very little food and/or profit on which they could grow biomass crops specifically for the purpose of producing biofuels. This is commonly referred to as purpose-grown feedstocks and includes crops such as switchgrass, miscanthus, and some types of fast-growing trees.
Click to Learn More