Ontario Biomass Producers Co-operative Pursuing Corn Stover Market Opportunity for Ontario Farmers
The Ontario Biomass Producers Co-operative (OBPC) today announced the launch of a study to assess the feasibility of transforming corn stover into renewable natural gas (RNG). The study sponsor is Northeast Renewables LP, the Toronto-based developer of Project Radius, a cluster of on-farm agricultural RNG facilities in Ontario. The study is endorsed by The Andersons Canada.
OBPC is examining the agronomic and economic feasibility of harvesting, supplying, and delivering corn stover to Project Radius RNG facilities in southwestern Ontario. OBPC is consulting with corn growers, custom equipment operators, certified crop advisors, and other industry participants. It expects to complete the first phase of its work in late March 2022. Growers or custom operators wishing to be considered for participation in this study should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Growers participating in the study will gain insights into the value-added opportunities associated with corn stover harvesting and the potential agronomic benefits of excess corn stover removal.
The OBPC study is intended to support the creation of an integrated value chain that enables growers to capture extra value from their farming operations while reducing the carbon intensity of agricultural operations and natural gas customers.
At the RNG facility, corn stover bales are chopped using a hammermill crusher and mixed with manure before being fed into an anaerobic digestion system that produces biogas (a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide). An upgrader removes impurities from the agricultural biogas, creating RNG that is then compressed for injection into the existing natural gas pipeline. Digestate – the material left after the anaerobic digestion process is complete – can be safely applied by growers to land as a nutrient-rich organic material that benefits soil and crop growth, is used as livestock bedding or used as a renewable biofuel.
Project Radius RNG facilities are seeking to contract for stover harvest from 10,000 acres starting in Fall 2022 and expanding to 35,000 acres in Fall 2023 and 100,000 acres by 2025.
OBPC President James Fisher indicated the tremendous potential of this initiative, noting that “Project Radius has the potential to create a new value-added market for crop residues, which currently have minimal value for producers. Removal of excess corn stover contributes to earlier emergence of the next crop.”
Sustainability is a key consideration in this project. Harvesting a portion of the stover where corn yields are generally greater than 150 bushels per acre has been shown to be sustainable and of benefit to the next crop.
OBPC is a farmer-owned co-op operating in Ontario. It is focused on developing economically and environmentally sustainable biomass supply chains and securing fair financial returns for growers.
For more details contact James Fisher
Tel: (905) 638-7500