Recently, National Sorghum Producers made an announcement that will give added value to the crop that has taken the Carolinas by storm this year. Tim Lust, CEO of the National Sorghum Producers and United Sorghum Checkoff explains that grain sorghum has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency as a biofuel feedstock:
“We have worked hard as an industry for a long time with EPA. There were a few days where we wondered if it would ever get done. But its been decided that grain sorghum as feed stock and we are equally excited that there are ways with certain technologies that individual plants can produce advanced biofuels with grain sorghum.
These varieties are exactly the same as what is being grown today. The difference is what is done at the ethanol plant. In order to be an advanced biofuel you have to have about a 50% reduction in greenhouse gases, sorghum comes in at 32% which is very good for a feedstock but then the plant has to make some additional modifications. The one that was listed in the pathway yesterday is use of bio gas, this is basically for a lot of your very large anaerobic digester that will allow them to get off the power grid and produce their own electricity and heat. By doing that, an individual facility will be able to meet those greenhouse gas reduction requirements.
Nationally, we are excited to have a new area, North Carolina, to add to the portfolio. There are a few unique areas around the US where we have seen a lot of growth back in sorghum. Some of those areas is where 20 years ago there was significant production. We are excited about the opportunity in NC and a market there that has been very positive and the openness of growers to look at it. We hope to funnel some research dollars in that direction to help make sure we are getting the right varieties there and working on some of the disease and pest issues that could come later with more production.
Certainly not every ethanol plant can look at this but there will be some that will. We think it will have a real impact on pricing. Overall in the US, the biggest thing we see is that most of our advanced biofuels are coming from sugarcane in Brazil, so we are excited to be a part of the domestic solution to help produce the advanced biofuels here and continue to grow our domestic industry.”
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CEO National Sorghum Producers and United Sorghum Checkoff, Tim Lust