Genera Energy introduces proprietary feedstock management systems

By Genera Energy Inc. | July 30, 2014

Genera Energy Inc., a recognized leader in biomass feedstock supply innovation and supply chain advancements, has announced the deployment of two new proprietary feedstock management systems, Energy Grange and Supply Assure. Both systems were developed through years of R&D and in-the-field testing aimed at consolidating and simplifying the entire process, managing risk, and offering benefits to landowners, farmers and feedstock end users.

“Through the Energy Grange and Supply Assure systems, we can help landowners, growers and biomass end users navigate the complex feedstock supply chain intricacies,” said Kelly Tiller, CEO and president of Genera Energy. “In using results from in-field testing, our systems significantly reduce the risks and costs associated with long-term biomass production.”

Genera’s Energy Grange management system is a suite of services that focus on establishing and managing biomass feedstock including: land selection, recruiting and working with landowners, feedstock selection, crop establishment and annual management of the crop until harvest.

Once a feedstock crop is ready for harvest, Genera’s Supply Assure (Advantaged Supply System for Upstream Reliability & Efficiency) management system oversees and coordinates harvesting, aggregation, storage and transportation.

A critical part of the Supply Assure system is industrial inventory management and control through a sophisticated data collection, monitoring, and integrated software system that offers traceability of product. Inventory management is critical for maintaining quality and consistency prior to delivery to the end user.

Reducing costs and risks, and increasing efficiencies, are keys to the new management systems; however, other benefits to these new systems are increased yields and consistently high-quality feedstock for end users. In one example of applying the integrated management systems across harvesting, storage, and inventory management, Genera was able to demonstrate a [13%] reduction in the delivered cost of biomass feedstock through a combination of reducing transportation costs (by delivering lower moisture bales), reducing dry matter losses in storage, and scheduling inventory rotation to take best advantage of nonlinear deterioration rates of the biological material over time. For a customer requiring 250,000 dry tons of biomass annually, the savings add up quickly at nearly $2.5 million per year.

Beyond the very real cost savings on every dry ton of biomass delivered, the customer also realize significant additional process savings and efficiencies. During the development of these systems, Genera examined the difference between ethanol conversion yields produced from feedstocks produced and supplied by multiple growers managing feedstock production independently, and a Genera-managed supply chain using the Energy Grange and Supply Assure systems.

The improvement in consistency is economically and operationally significant to all biomass end users. “In addition to increasing biomass crop yields, our new Energy Grange and Supply Assure systems provide improved economical production and aggregation methods, sound storage practices that reduce degradation and efficient transportation processes that include high-efficiency loading, transport and unloading, all with a focus on safety,” added Tiller.

The results of multiple samples demonstrated that Genera’s systems helped increase ethanol conversion rates significantly when compared to the baseline grower-managed system case with the same feedstock specifications. Ethanol yields from the grower-managed system were highly variable, with conversion rates from 48 to 85 gallons of ethanol per dry ton of feedstock whereas conversion rates from the Genera-managed supply were much narrower, from 81 to 85 gallons per dry ton.

“While the cost savings per delivered ton are significant, it’s the improvements in quality and variability that really make a difference for our customers,” said Keith Brazzell, Genera’s chief operating officer. “To very simply illustrate the impacts of that reduction in variability on the bottom line for our customer,” Brazzell continued, “That would mean a customer producing 20 million gallons of ethanol per year using the grower-managed system would require nearly 60,000 additional tons of biomass feedstock every year compared to the Genera-managed feedstock. At $65 per ton, Genera delivers an additional cost savings of nearly $3.9 Million every year.”