A partnership by NDSU, Green Vision Group and Heartland Renewable Energy has received a $330,000 funding grant from North Dakotas Renewable Energy Council and several private supporters to develop an energy beet for the biofuel industry in the state.
Cole Gustafson, NDSU biofuels economist, was lead author of the proposal.
Funds from the grant will be used to:
Conduct a commercial test of Heartland Renewable Energys patented process of drying the plants fermentation tillage and utilizing the material to heat 70 percent of the plant.
Conduct energy beet yield trials at five regional locations across North Dakota. Blaine Schatz, Carringtons Research Extension Center director, will coordinate this research.
Initiate an engineering study that seeks to extend the storage life of energy beet juice. Dennis Wiesenborn, agricultural and biosystems engineering professor, will be the lead investigator on this project.
Conduct producer and community education programs in up to five targeted regions. The goal of the educational component is to prepare potential energy beet producers, rural communities, ethanol buyers and other interested parties for the development of this new industry. Griggs and Steele Counties have expressed strong initial interest in the project.