NextStep Biofuels, EGB sign feedstock agreement

By Anna Austin
Web exclusive posted Feb. 20, 2009, at 9:59 a.m. CST

NextStep Biofuels Inc., a cellulosic ethanol development company, announced Feb. 17 it has signed a multi-year feedstock supply agreement with Nebraska-based Energy Grains Biomass LLC.

EGB will provide NextStep with corn stover, which will be utilized as a cellulosic ethanol feedstock. A NextStep Biofuels spokesman said that the promised quantity is not being released, but it will be enough for a 40 MMgy plant. Other terms of the multi-year agreement have not been disclosed.

"When you invest hundreds of millions of dollars into building a state-of-the-art, cellulosic ethanol plant, it's vitally important to know where you're going to secure the feedstocks needed to keep it running," said Russ Zeeck, NextStep Biofuels chief operating officer. "NextStep's partnership with Energy Grains Biomass gives us great comfort that our feedstock needs will be met for years to come."

EGB had an initial focus of securing and marketing corn stover supplies, but the company reports it's also working with farmers to supply soybean and milo stubble, wheat straw, forage sorghum and other agricultural residues.

"Our mission is to supply the emerging cellulosic ethanol industry with reliable, price-stable access to cellulosic feedstocks," said Paul Kenney, president of Energy Grains Biomass. "A sophisticated cellulosic supply chain, fully supported by the American farmer, is essential for cellulosic ethanol to realize its vast potential."

In January, NextStep announced it had signed a 20-year feedstock procurement contract with Arkansas-based wood processing giant The Price Companies. (Read "NextStep Biofuels finds partner for cellulose project.")