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Beet pulp, grasses, wood chips and many other North Dakota byproducts are a candidate for possible biomass energy production.

North Dakota’s biomass industry has potential for significant contribution to the state’s economy as it evolves. Both North Dakota State University and the Energy and Environmental Research Center, University of North Dakota, have numerous projects underway for utilization of biomass. These projects include a wide variety of uses from gasification technology to nanofibers.

In addition, there are industry efforts underway to use crop residues and wood waste for ethanol or other energy applications. Commercial application is yet to be achieved as the state works to grow support for biomass as a viable industry in North Dakota.

Biomass in North Dakota

  • Research sponsors and North Dakota State University continue to work actively toward finalizing a business plan and developing the first energy beet to ethanol commercial installation. Energy beet field trials are being conducted at five regional locations across North Dakota in an effort to study productivity and sustainability. Beet and juice storage studies are also being conducted.
  • North Dakota State University has also developed the biomaterials used in the "bio-boom," a hybrid of 20 to 30 percent renewable biomaterials, flax fiber and fiberglass used in a crop sprayer manufactured by AGCO Corporation.
  • Great River Energy continues development of Dakota Spirit Ag Energy at Spiritwood, with the intent of adding cellulosic ethanol production once the backbone conventional ethanol facility is in operation. Biomass byproducts have potential for additional energy production.
  • North Dakota State University Researchers are collaborating with several companies, including Composite Innovations Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The research studies renewable biomaterials – everything from canola, soybeans, flax and more – in combination with petroleum-based polymers and plastics for an array of products.
  • Researchers at North Dakota State University continued to research the development of hybridized biomass in pellet form for use in manufacturing processes. Biocomposite pellets could replace up to 40 percent of petroleum-based plastics used in manufacturing.
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