A team of Illinois researchers are looking at the issues and logistics of getting crops from field production to the biorefinery gate. The program is funded by BP at the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) – a partnership between the University of California-Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National laboratory, and the University of Illinois.
University of Illinois Engineer K.C. Ting said, “In the pre-harvest crop monitoring, we look at how precision agriculture, remote sens ing, can be used to help growers understand how to manage these new crops. Even harvesting has several steps: you have to detach it, you have to gather it, collect it, and resize it. Then you may have to either bale it or compact it. You have to load and unload many times from the field to the biorefinery. And in between you may need to store it. Sometimes the harvest window is small, but biorefineries need a year-long supply of constant high-quantity material. We have to find ways to keep it for a whole year in storage.” (Source: Precision, September 23, 2009)