Making biomass pellets from ethanol crop residues can be a billion-dollar business opportunity for agricultural states in the US, according to studies commissioned by а California-based sector player.

The studies focus on Iowa and Nebraska, which are large ethanol produces, and look into the case for collecting corn stover and processing it into pellets for electricity generation. According to them, the ethanol industry in Iowa and in Nebraska produces 15.6 million tonnes and 8.32 million tonnes, respectively, of harvestable corn stover per year.

The analysis estimates that developing a corn stover industry could provide more than USD 1 billion (EUR 848m) in additional labor income and contribute USD 2 billion to Iowa's gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030. In Nebraska these figures stand at USD 840 million and USD 1.5 billion, respectively.

If the stover is used to cut carbon emissions elsewhere in the economy, the overall carbon footprint of ethanol will be reduced, Trestle Energy LLC says.

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