Metro Ag's value chain is from Field-To-Pump and brings a new source of alternative renewable energy to the marketplace. Pennycress is a non-edible over winter cover crop that has a high energy content and when converted to biodiesel produces outstanding cold weather performance characteristics.
Metro Ag is located in Michigan, a state that is replete with farm fields and numerous transportation channels. With significant research and development capacity, Metro Ag has the technology and strategies... from crop development and seed crush-oil extraction processing through marketing and distribution of a high feedstock oil for biodiesel production and distribution.
PENNYCRESS Grows During Winter as an "Added" Crop
Pennycress (Thlaspi arvense L.) is non-edible. It has a high oil content and is a member of the Mustard family. It contains twice as much oil as soybeans. It grows over the winter between crop cycles and thus it is an "AND" crop, not an "OR" crop. You might have heard of it as stinkweed, fan weed, french weed, or mithridite mustand. We describe it as "a bag filled with money waiting to be harvested."
Planting of Pennycress takes place in September. Growing Pennycress as an energy crop avoids the food-vs-fuel debate. Pennycress is simple and inexpensive to grow: harrow, broadcast, and let it "go grow". Pennycress does not displace food crops or disturb wildlife habitats, and is reported to control pests, such as nematodes.
Planting and growing Pennycress is simple and inexpensive for farmers. The steps are comprised of burndown, tilling, seeding, and harvesting. Addition of fertilizer is not required when Pennycress is used as a cover crop because fertilizer is still present. Pennycress is used to reduce nitrogen runoff.
Pennycress does not disrupt or hinder follow-on planting or growing of other crops. Ten (10) pounds of Pennycress seed per acre yields approximately 45 bushels of oil rich Pennycress seed per acre (~100 gallons per acre). Pennycress is passive yet rugged and grows best in winter.
Harvesting Pennycress occurs in late April/early May. Harvesting is accomplished with conventional combine equipment and existing infrastructure.
Planting and harvesting Pennycress as an overwinter crop allows farmers to increase annual revenues up to 50%. Growing Pennycress adds a "2nd shift" to your agricultural "factory".
Typical yields are 45-50 bushels per acre (up to 2,000 lbs). Because Pennycress contains 32%-36% oil, a single acre of Pennycress can yield 100 gallons of oil (which results in 100 gallons of biodiesel.
Metro Ag Energy, Inc. wants to buy all the Pennycress farmers can produce. The seeds are routed for oil extraction to Metro Ag's crushing facility. Extraction of the oil is achieved by crushing the seeds. The crushing process does not require solvents or chemicals.
The removal or recovery of oil from the plant matter, via the application of mechanical pressure, is a proven technology. However, Metro Ag has trade secrets that make its process more efficient for biodiesel. The Pennycress seeds are screened and de-hulled and the chaff and debris are separated out while the seeds are heated and squeezed to extract the Pennycress oil.
The oil is refined via filtration, centrifugation, and degumming then contained and transported to biodiesel production facilities. The residual meal or cake (which represents approximately 74% by weight of the seed thru put) is reported to have an energy value of 7,000 BTU and can be sold as biomass for production of other alternative energy or as a herbicide and/or pesticide.
Metro Ag Energy brings the sustainable value chain together from field-to-pump with its strategic partners to allow the production of some of the best biodiesel in the world. Metro Ag's strategic partners include:
Copyright © 2017 by Metro Ag Energy, Inc.