BISMARCK – A North Dakota delegation has returned from Denmark where they learned more about that nation's experience in using biomass for energy.

“The tours, farm visits and presentations helped us to better understand Denmark's various energy technologies and to identify and clarify areas of opportunity here in North Dakota,” said Agriculture Commissioner Goehring.

The group visited the world's most advanced, second-generation ethanol plant, where wheat straw is turned into ethanol, C5 molasses, and lignin, a boiler fuel. The fully operational demonstration plant has a production capacity of 1.4 million gallons per year.

During the trip, Great River Energy briefed the delegation on how Danish technology and practices could be applied in a successful U.S. business model.

“Great River Energy's Dakota Spirit AgEnergy project has evolved into a hybrid concept utilizing both first- and second-generation technologies,” Goehring said, noting that studies performed by North Dakota State University and other entities have been valuable in understanding the economics of such a project. “We're optimistic about the prospects for a bio-refinery in North Dakota,”

Goehring said that gaining a better understanding of the differences between U.S. and Danish cropping systems, soil conditions and climate was particularly valuable.

“While Denmark's crop production is largely limited to cereal grains, North Dakota's diversified crop sector may provide opportunities for a wider range of potential feedstocks,” Goehring said.

The delegation also toured a farming operation that collects and markets biomass, a bio-gas production facility and the world's most efficient power plant.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, state legislators, producers and local economic development officials also participated in the trip.