COLUSA, Calif. -- Colusa Biomass Energy Corporation achieved high yields its first-ever rice straw harvesting operation in Colusa County, Calif., a step toward processing the straw into ethanol in CBEC's biorefinery in the future.



Field Operations Manager Rick Nannen said, "Yields of rice straw were very significantly higher than expected, showing that our specialized equipment and field practices result in highly efficient collection of biomass."



CBEC collected 6,800 tons of rice straw in a truncated harvest period of 5 weeks, with an average yield per acre harvested of over 4 tons/acre, compared to previous assumptions of 2.5 tons/acre. These higher yields significantly reduced the amount of acres necessary to be harvested in order to reach CBEC's target volume of rice straw.



CEO Tom Bowers said, "Our average cash cost for collection of rice straw in this harvest was $9.44 per ton. In the full scale harvest we will undertake in 2007 we are confident that total cost (including capital cost) will not exceed $24 per ton. This places us very significantly below the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's benchmark for biomass gathering costs of $30 per ton."



Nannen said, "Our process gathers rice straw without baling it. Avoiding the baling step significantly reduces the cost of gathering biomass."



In the 2007 harvest, CBEC intends to undertake a full-scale rice-straw harvest operation using 5 forage harvester units, over the full 10 weeks of the harvest. This full scale operation will produce over 70,000 tons of rice straw, which will be processed into ethanol in CBEC's biorefinery, on which it is expected to begin construction in 2007.



Colusa Biomass Energy Corporation is planning to build a bio-refinery engineered to convert waste rice straw residue into ethanol. The plant is based on CLME patented and proprietary technologies that converts waste biomass into ethanol for use in transportation fuels. It is important to note that the CLME technology takes nothing from the food stream but only consumes waste biomass such as straws, wood chips, forest slash and orchards trimmings.



SOURCE: Colusa Biomass Energy Corp. via Business Wire.