Quarterly Progress ReportNews index...
The Chariton Valley Biomass Project made significant progress on multiple fronts during the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2005. Summary points from the Quarterly Progress Report to the U.S. Department of Energy for the period from April 1 to June 30, 2005 are:
- Final design of the switchgrass processing facility for the Long Term Test Burn was completed.
- All subcontracts necessary for construction of the test facility for the Long Term Test Burn were executed after a full bid evaluation process for each phase of the work.
- Facility construction began and significant progress was made. All primary sitework, including underground pipe and electrical installation was completed. Concrete work began on-site. Building, process equipment, and pneumatic system fabrication activities began.
- A ribbon cutting ceremony was planned for late August.
- Final completion of the facility is on track for early Fall of 2005 and system commissioning will begin soon afterwards.
- A thorough review of switchgrass inventories was completed to enable final supply planning for the Long Term Test Burn. A total of 21,274 tons of switchgrass have been harvested to date with 2,283 tons being used in previous testing or damaged. The total switchgrass in storage stands just short of 19,000, with another 6,000 needing to be harvested (and/or purchased) before the Long Term Test Burn. Prairie Lands Biomass LLC is planning a harvest season that should gather 4000 to 6700 tons of switchgrass this Fall.
- Spring switchgrass stand maintenance was completed in June, with the oversight and treatment of 2,016 acres of switchgrass.
- The Prairie Lands Biomass LLC board, with the assistance of USDA/NRCS staff members put together a preliminary study of switchgrass acres in the CRP Program that are within a 70-mile radius of OGS in Iowa. That survey indicates there are approximately 74,000 acres in a 10 county area that have been seeded to native warm season grasses when enrolled into the Conservation Reserve Program. Many of those acres are up for re-enrollment or are coming out of the CRP program in 2007 and 2008. The Board and management are planning to meet with the Iowa State Soil Conservation Technical Committee to discuss the project and outline potential strategies to keep those acres in switchgrass and direct them toward this project. This could greatly increase the projectâ€™s ability to ramp up its fuel supply for commercial operations following the Long Term Test Burn, and would also be critical to moderating overall fuel supply costs.
- The Chariton Valley RC&D successfully completed a project management transition during this quarter, allowing the project to maintain its momentum and continue important planning and management needs during this critical construction and Long Term Test Burn preparation period. Bill Belden entered into a consulting agreement with Chariton Valley RC&D and Prairie Lands Biomass LLC for project manager services. Bill spent a 24 year career as a field staff person for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, and has been involved with this project since its inception. Judy Brayton was hired to assist Bill with project accounting and financial management. Judy held this same position for the CVRC&D for years until her retirement in 2003.
- Formal written approval was obtained from the Iowa Department of Transportation allowing Alliant Energy and ISG Resources to sell fly ash from OGS for concrete uses with up to a 5% heat input rate from switchgrass. This approval was a critical step that was required to allow the project to conduct the Long Term Test Burn and enter into a commercial operation afterwards. Project partners believe this is the first biomass cofiring project in the U.S. to achieve this approval.
- Final research reports were submitted on the following topics:
- Estimating the Economic Impact of Substituting Switchgrass for Coal for Electric Generation in Iowa
- Testing Program for the Evaluation of Co-combustion Fly Ash Produced at Ottumwa Generation Station; Phase 2 (Second Trial Burn)
- Site-specific Management for Biomass Production
- Assessment of the Biomass Potential of Cool-Season Grasslands in Southern Iowa
- Continued progress was made on a web site upgrade to distribute project reports and help outreach activities. The site will be launched during the fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 2005.