Return to Nicholas Johnson's Main Web Site

Return to Nicholas Johnson's Coralville Rain Forest Web Site

Bio-Ag Plans Build on New Technology
Belmont Ag Complex Would be Even More Comprehensive Than a State-of-the-Art Facility Being Built in Nebraska

Craig Reber

Dubuque Telegraph Herald

January 23, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Dubuque Telegraph Herald.]

Bolstered by more than three years of planning and research, a southwest Wisconsin company is developing a $100 million-plus state-of-the-art agriculture complex that would feature a 20,000-head beef feedlot, ethanol plant, greenhouse and anaerobic digesters near Belmont.

According to Tim Baye, the project's chief executive officer, the Belmont Bio-Ag facility is the "first-of-its-kind" agricultural development. The complex integrates horticultural greenhouses, ethanol production, cattle-finishing and electricity generation into one interconnected, sustainable system. The system captures and recycles waste from the component systems and turns it into value-added products.

The complex could be operational by 2008.

A similar project - minus the greenhouse - is being built near Mead, Neb. Construction is under way on E3 BioFuels' $71-million complex - a self-sustaining "closed-loop" system that combines cattle and ethanol production, and waste management.

The facility's anaerobic digester converts the cattle manure, from 30,000 head, along with waste from ethanol production, into biogas, compost and liquid fertilizer. The biogas replaces 100 percent of the natural gas and up to 100 percent of the electricity used by the ethanol plant.

The complex is expected to become operational this year.

Developers say that the complex, which is described as a "commercial-scale, integrated system that manages the wastes generated by concentrated beef cattle-feeding operations and produces ethanol."

According to a Nov. 5 Lincoln Journal Star editorial, the plant will be the "world's first closed loop to make" ethanol. Based in Omaha, Neb., E3 BioFuels holds a patent for the technology.

David Hallberg, president and CEO of E3 BioFuels, formed the company in a partnership with Earth, Energy and Environment LLC, which is based in Shawnee, Kansas.

According the Omaha World-Herald. Hallberg is using $51 million in state bonds in the project.

Hallberg, founder of the Renewable Fuels Association, holds two patents for ethanol-production processes. He has been involved with alternative fuels for more than 25 years. He is chairman of the Western Governors' Association's Biomass Task Force.

"It's not the largest feedlot. And it's not the largest anaerobic digester. But, put together ... it's a perpetual green machine," said Hallberg in a story published recently in Iowa Farmer Today.

The complex is expected to produce about 24 millions of ethanol annually. A cattle feedlot near Mead has been in operation since 1968. Nebraska is a leader in cattle production. Corn is in abundant supply around the area. Developers also cite the location of a Union Pacific rail line two miles from the complex.

"Construction of the next-generation ethanol plant at Mead is a welcome advancement that will keep Nebraska at the forefront of the burgeoning ethanol industry," said the Journal Star editorial.