With the successful completion of the project's Long Term Test Burn, project partners demonstrated that a commercially operating switchgrass cofiring project is technically possible at Ottumwa Generating Station while creating no significant negative impacts to the plant's operations and equipment. With the completion of the project's final technical reports, the research and demonstration phase of the project will come to a close. The next challenge project partners face is seeking to enter into commercial operations (if economic conditions are attractive enough to warrant a viable business opportunity). Acquiring customers to buy “green power” or carbon credits from the project, or helping Alliant Energy to meet possible future renewable portfolio standard requirements, could be critical elements in enabling a commercially viable business. Commercial operations could begin as soon as possible after a final commercial fuel supply agreement is negotiated, and as soon as sufficient supplies of switchgrass are located and contracted to support ongoing commercial operations.
In addition to creating a first-of-a-kind operating energy crop fuelled power generation business, project partners hope to commercialize the Chariton Valley Biomass Project as an ongoing development and demonstration platform of what the feedstock supply system for future cellulosic ethanol biorefineries will look like. Such biorefineries will be a source of the nation's much-needed increased ethanol production from non-food portions of plant material.For more background information on the project, please see the following links: