Eighty-five farmers in and around Emmetsburg, Iowa, have become early adopters by participating in the world's largest biomass harvest for cellulosic ethanol ever. Over the next year, nearly 60,000 tons of bone-dry light corn stover and corn cobs will be delivered to Project Liberty in an effort to refine biomass harvesting, storage and transportation techniques in time for the production debut in early 2012.
Farmers have been concerned about the effect of removing the cobs and stover on soil health and yield. Early tests by Iowa State University show that these will be minimal as long as no more than approximately 25 percent of the biomass is removed. In fact, Iowa State is working on creating variable rate removal technology that will ensure that only the appropriate amount of biomass is removed from each field.