GREENSBORO, N.C., May 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Biomass crop production dedicated for energy use was the focus of a field day Wednesday, May 7 in Iowa City, Iowa. The event was held by the University of Iowa Office of Sustainability Biomass Fuel Project and supported by REPREVE RENEWABLES, LLC, the supplier of giant miscanthus rhizomes and proprietary equipment technology used to plant and harvest the crop. A 13-acre field is being used for the 2014 study adding to the acreage of the original 16-acre field planted last year.
"Energy crop production is novel to many farmers and landowners," said Ferman Milster, principal engineer for the university's Biomass Fuels Project. "The demonstration gave people interested in biomass a chance to kick tires and look under the hood. They learned about the range of benefits from growing a crop like giant miscanthus and what's required to establish and maintain a stand of the perennial grass. They also had the opportunity to look over specially-designed planting equipment."
The ACCU DROP® planter from REPREVE RENEWABLES accurately plants rhizomes in the field at the desired population per acre and ideal row spacing to maximize yield, making commercial biomass crop production viable. It is a component of the company's ACCU YIELD™ System, which includes the ACCU LIFTER™ machine for harvesting giant miscanthus rhizomes from parent plants and the ACCU PROCESSOR™ unit that cleans and sorts rhizomes in preparation for planting.
Jeff Wheeler, chief executive officer of REPREVE RENEWABLES, said that in addition to the acreage in Iowa City, the company will plant more than 1,000 acres across five states in 2014. This is an increase from previous years. "We are developing renewable biomass feedstock solutions from crops grown on marginal and underutilized land. We are continually looking for ways to gain more insights into ways for farmers and landowners to succeed in growing a crop like miscanthus. The opportunity to support the Biomass Fuels Project benefits our mission in the long run and adds value to those farmers and landowners we work with, and the customers which ultimately buy the product."
About the University of Iowa Biomass Fuel Project
The University of Iowa has a sustainability goal to procure 40 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. The goal builds on the success of the oat hull fuel project started in 2003. Biomass is co-fired (mixed) with coal and burned in boilers, reducing the university's fossil fuel usage. Biomass from dedicated energy crops (miscanthus, switchgrass), timber stand improvement projects, opportunity wood (storm damage, emerald ash borer, etc.), and organic industrial byproducts (oat hulls, paper sludge, etc.) are being developed as part of the renewable fuel portfolio.
In 2013 the University planted a 16-acre pilot miscanthus field in Muscatine County. The University has contracted with REPREVE RENEWABLES to supply the rhizomes and plant the 2014 field which, along with the 2013 field, will be used to better understand growing miscanthus in southeast Iowa, as well as demonstrate planting and harvesting techniques to potential growers. The university is planning to plant an additional 2,500 acres of miscanthus by 2016 to produce up to 25,000 tons per year of biomass fuel.
About REPREVE RENEWABLES
REPREVE RENEWABLES, LLC, provides comprehensive renewable solutions for the biomass market. It is committed to developing renewable solutions for bio-based markets by leveraging crops grown on under-utilized or marginal land to create sustainable biomass production. REPREVE RENEWABLES is headquartered in Greensboro, N.C.
REPREVE® is a registered trademark of Unifi, Inc., used under license. ACCU YIELD™ SYSTEM, ACCU DROP® planter, ACCU PROCESSOR™ unit and ACCU LIFTER™ machine are trademarks of REPREVE RENEWABLES.
Media Contact: Kim Powell, Repreve Renewables, (720) 340-0907, firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE Repreve Renewables