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A case for a cornstalks to bioprocessing venture

Aug. 20, 2013, Guelph, Ont. – A value chain consortium has presented its final report to local corn producers on a business case for sustaining a commercially viable cellulosic sugar plant in southwestern Ontario to support the future production of green chemicals.

The objective of the study was to examine the costs associated with the harvest, aggregation and delivery of corn stalks to a commercial plant and to determine the most viable business model to enable producers to capture a greater share of the value chain while offering a commercial facility stable feedstock supply.

The study, according to the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, demonstrated:

  • the region could supply cornstalks and other biomass crops at competitive rates;
  • more than 250,000 tonnes of cornstalks could be aggregated for a cellulosic sugar facility; and
  • a bioprocessing cooperative model where agricultural producers are both feedstock suppliers and co-investors in the processing infrastructure was the most viable structure examined, benefiting everyone in the value chain.

The report was prepared by researchers at the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus.

The consortium was represented by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Grain Farmers of Ontario, AGRIS Co-operative, Ontario AgriFood Technologies, BioIndustrial Innovation Centre, Midori Renewables, BioAmber and LANXESS covering the full value chain from feedstock producers to biochemical plants. Bother federal and provincial officials participated in an advisory capacity.