A Missouri-based energy company has launched a biomass division expected to create up to 2,700 new jobs through next-generation, farmer-grown, renewable energy.
MFA Oil – in partnership with Texas-based Aloterra Energy – has created MFA Oil Biomass after several years of researching energy crops. More than 200 farmers have committed to growing miscanthus, a perennial crop, for conversion into energy pellets and then other energy products.
Jared Wilmes — MFA’s Biomass project coordinator — says the miscanthus will be grown in central and southwest Missouri, as well as northeast Arkanas.
The end users include farmers themselves for energy use, power companies, the University of Missouri’s biomass boiler, and the city of Columbia, which has a self-imposed 15 percent renewable energy mandate.
But the project is built on the USDA’s BCAP incentive program that pays farmers to establish biomass crops. House Republicans have cut BCAP funding in their budget but it remains alive in President Obama’s budget. MFA says they’ll know in two weeks if their designated areas are selected. Either way, MFA says they’re moving forward because there is growing demand and a growing need for biomass energy sources.