VONORE, Tenn. – In 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded nearly $5 million to
Genera Energy Inc., a recognized innovator in sustainable biomass feedstock advancements
and supply chain improvements in Vonore, Tenn., and the University
of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture to research and develop economical systems
for bulk-handling and processing of chopped switchgrass. The goal was to reduce
the costs of baling in the field and subsequent bale grinding.
“Through this grant and by collaborating with Genera Energy,
we’ve been able to evaluate existing switchgrass supply logistics and to
develop ground-breaking systems that offer better and more cost-effective
methods for handling, processing, and storing chopped switchgrass,” said Al
Womac, Ph.D., professor of Biosystems
Engineering and Soil Science with UTIA and the project leader.
“The funding began in 2009 and in that time we have been
able to create and produce a fully-replicable system that saves money and time
and which is logistically superior to traditional baling,” Womac added.
Funds from the grant were used by Genera Energy to add a
bulk-format handling and research equipment to its existing Biomass Innovation
Park facility, implementing new technology best engineered to supply processed
switchgrass within specification at the lowest cost. Genera’s added
capabilities are unique in that they allow it to receive, convey, store,
reclaim, discharge, and compact bulk-format switchgrass automatically with an
effective, integrated system.
Using scientific data collected during the research phases
UTIA and Genera were able to develop innovative systems that were based on detailed
analysis of switchgrass harvest and handling equipment and logistical
efficiencies as well as material characteristics such as weight, particle size,
bulk density, moisture content and other factors. Software was also developed
to calculate effective field capacity, field efficiency, machine utilization
and system limiting factors.
“Our collaboration with the University of Tennessee in the
development of new feedstock logistics systems using chopped switchgrass has
culminated in a first-of-its-kind system,” said Genera Energy President and CEO
Kelly Tiller, Ph.D. “By working with our partners over the last several years,
we’ve developed a fully-functioning and innovative biomass feedstock bulk supply
chain. And in the process we are creating sustainable biomass feedstock systems
that can be replicated on a larger scale, something we only imagined when
Genera was first envisioned.”
Heather Ripley, Ripley PR, 865-712-7175
Patricia McDaniels, UTIA Marketing and Communciations, 615-835-4570
About Genera Energy Inc.
Genera Energy Inc. supplies biomass feedstocks for the
advanced biofuels, biopower, and biochemical industries, offering customized
biomass supply solutions ranging from full service energy crop production and
turnkey supply chains to managing biomass supply as a service. Genera’s
proprietary Supply ASSURE™ feedstock management system and its BIN-SPEC™
material handling and milling system offer Genera’s customers maximum feedstock
reliability and quality while minimizing variability and cost. Based in Vonore,
Tenn., Genera operates the country’s largest and most comprehensive industrial
biomass management and processing facility.
Focus on innovation and sustainability in delivering industrial biomass
supply systems has earned Genera the World’s Biofuels Market’s prestigious 2013
Sustainable Feedstock Innovation Award. For more information, visit www.generaenergy.com.
About the University of Tennessee Institute
A member of the statewide University of Tennessee system, the UT
Institute of Agriculture provides instruction, research and public service
through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT
College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch with its 10 research and
education centers and UT Extension offices in every county of the state. http://ag.tennessee.edu.