Monday, March 30, 2009

Iowa plant will use corncobs to make fertilizer, reducing use of often expensive natural gas

A plant to be built in Menlo, Iowa, "will be the first of its kind in the U.S. to convert biomass into fertilizer," reports Dan Piller of The Des Moines Register. "The SynGest Menlo plant will use 150,000 tons of locally supplied corncobs per year to manufacture 50,000 tons of bio-ammonia annually, enough to fertilize 500,000 acres of nearby Iowa farmland under corn."

Typically, chemical fertilizers are made by extracting nitrogen from the air using natural gas. The shift to using biomass could be good news for farmers because of the move away from gas. "Farmers have fought soaring fertilizer costs caused by volatile swings in natural gas prices," writes Piller. "In the last half-decade the average price for fertilizer has increased from less than $200 per ton to more than $1,000 per ton." (Read more)

No comments: