Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Production of Sorghum Bioenergy Cubes(ST10876-1)

Mesa Reduction Engineering and Processin


Biomass feedstock handling systems that feed material at precise rates are needed. Gasification, in particular, cannot handle loosely chopped biomass in the way that co-firing with coal can achieve. Cubing machines exist to address these issues; alfalfa is sometimes cubed for use as animal feed.

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Project Description

Specific objectives include: 1) establish 100 acres of sorghum at a farm near Auburn; 2) develop a harvesting, transport, and storage infrastructure, including the cubing technology for chopped sorghum; 3) design a storage and handling system that includes storage silos and reclaimers to feed material precisely; 4) monitor energy costs of sorghum cube delivery in order to determine an optimal supply radius for the product; 5) test the product.


Densifying biomass, by cubing it or other means, has advantages in handling, transporting, and feeding the material into conversion processes. Sorghum may have advantages over switchgrass as a biomass crop because it has high yield, it can use the same planting and harvesting equipment as corn, and can be harvested annually, and in the first year. Sorghum cubes with 15% moisture are targeted. One “cuber” can produce between 7 and 10 tons/hr of cubes. Assuming 10 dry tons of sorghum are produced per acre, cubes could be produced for $50 per dry ton ($25 per ton to harvest, $15 to grind and cube, and $10 to transport). This is cheaper than hardwood, which costs about $80 per dry ton.

Project Results


Mesa Reduction Engineering and Processin
6030 E Lake Rd
Auburn, NY 13021

Principle Investigator

Matt McArdle

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Indigenous/Renewable Energy Resources

Technologies Types:

NYSERDA Contact Information

Judy Jarnefeld


R&D - Environment & Energy Res

Contract Details

Start Date: 7/8/2009 1
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST10876-1

Last Updated: 12/1/2010