A group of farmers has said it will work with Comet Biorefining, the London-based company that plans to build a plant at the TransAlta Energy Park.
The group, the Cellulosic Sugar Producers Cooperative, said it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the company, which hopes to have a plant operating by 2018 to convert corn stalks, leaves and wheat straw into sugar that would be the feedstock for a variety of biochemicals and fuels.
Comet has already received nearly $11 million in federal grant money as it gets ready to construct the plant.
Dave Park, who is president of the Cellulosic Sugar Producers Cooperative, said his group is keen on working with Comet.
“We developed a joint business plan with them to create an entire value chain for conversion of corn stalks to sugars that would be processed into biochemicals,” Park told another media outlet. The cooperative will be talking with other farmers about how to become involved in the venture.
The business plan is said to involve farmers becoming equity partners.
The role of the cooperative would be to arrange for supply of the feedstock material to the plant in Sarnia.
A key to the farmers is helping them gain more value from their operation, especially from material that would otherwise be discarded.
The plant is expected to use more than 60,000 tonnes of corn stover or wheat straw a year, making the agreement with the cooperative an important step.
The removal of corn stalks during harvest could lead to other benefits, notably the ability to reduce tillage in the fields.