Biotechnology Company at SDM finds a new way to turn crop waste into a valuable product

The late evening news on KEVN Black Hills Fox Monday-Friday
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 3:20 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Research funded through grants provided by the US Department of Energy has led an Agriculture Biotechnology Company at South Dakota Mines to find another form of future income for corn farmers using a biorefinery.

At the ninth annual CEO Business Plan Competition this year, Bio-Navitas earned first place with its research into finding new ways to turn agricultural waste like corn stover into a valuable form of graphite. The porous carbon material that was made from the corn stover has many applications with a major one being that it could be a key component in creating the next generation of batteries and energy storage devices.

This would bring in the possibility of an extra form of income for farmers who would have an excess of corn stover left over after the harvesting season.

“This gives an additional opportunity for farmers. At some point in the future, if we provide this kind of additional segment to the existent bio-refinery, they will be able to bring their corn stover to the refiner, and then, the refiners can convert the corn stover into a valuable product, which they can then generate that revenue to offset the cost of the fuel,” said South Dakota Mines chemical & biological engineering professor Rajesh Shende Ph.D.

Rajesh added that it could be possible for the US to see these kinds of biorefineries in the market in the next 10 years or so.