In 2006, we expanded our business model and expertise into the biofuels/bioenergy sector. We were approached by an alternative energy team comprised of Virginia Tech and Conservation Management Institute who were working with Virginia's Piedmont Geriatric Hospital (PGH) staff in an effort to convert their biomass boiler feedstock to native warm season grasses (NWSG). We were asked to join the team as a result of our reputation and expertise in establishing, managing and harvesting NWSG.
In 2011, after 5 years of experimentation and development, we were able to successfully burn NWSG for 44 days straight at a daily savings of $996.67 over the No. 2 fuel oil PGH was using at the time. From 2011-2015, PGH gradually increased its NWSG use to 131 days/annually resulting in a savings of $1,148.81/day. This program was so successful PGH received funding for and installed a new biomass boiler in 2015 and has been burning NWSG year-round as their main fuels source since that time.
We are currently working with a number of private and public institutions on projects to convert their heating/energy needs to biomass boilers slated to burn NWSG. Their motivation has been both environmentally and economically driven. Movement forward on these projects has hinged on our ability to provide them with long-term fixed cost agreements to establish, manage, harvest, process and deliver their biomass needs.
Since 2010, FDCE has been a biofuels supply chain logistics provider for Abengoa, Dupont, Poet, Genera and Piedmont Geriatric Hospital. We have harvested over 30,000 acres of corn stover, wheat straw and native warm season grasses. We have been the lead recipient of 2 major US Dept of Energy (DOE) supply chain logistics grants and a major contributor on a third DOE grant focusing on landscape sustainability of cellulosic biofuel projects.
Through the efforts of FDCE and team members we have:
ABSORB was developed specifically for organic poultry producers looking for a superior absorbency bedding that is also USDA Certified Organic. Advantages include:
ABSORB is made from certified organic switchgrass grown in the Shenandoah Valley and is 100% renewable perennial vegetation. Switchgrass controls erosion and builds soil tilth. We cut the switchgrass into 1-inch pieces which makes it highly absorbent and easy to manage. Both USDA and VA Tech have tested ABSORB and concluded it is a highly effective alternative to current bedding options. Additionally, all major poultry integrators have officially approved ABSORB for bedding in their growers' facilities.