Hexas Biomass

Hexas has identified giant reed as our initial sustainable biomass feedstock. Giant reed is perennial, fast growing, yields 25-35 dry tons of biomass per acre year-over-year, is highly pest resistant, grows in different climates and soil types, tolerates drought, and has low ecological demand. Giant reed possesses characteristics which are well-aligned to replacing wood and fossil fuel in multiple applications. Learn more about the benefits and uses of giant reed.

Hexas’ giant reed is a US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved bioenergy crop. The EPA has determined that renewable fuels made from giant reed meet the lifecycle greenhouse gas reduction requirements for renewable cellulosic biofuel under the Renewable Fuels Standard Program (RFS). Giant reed is composed of 31% cellulose, 35% hemicellulose, and 18% lignin. According to the EPA, giant reed yields three (3) times as much cellulosic ethanol per acre as corn. In biofuel applications, e.g., ethanol, biogas, and biodiesel, our giant reed produces lower greenhouse gas emissions throughout its economic lifecycle than other EPA approve biomass crops.

Giant reed burns at about 8,000 BTU/pound in direct combustion. When torrefied, giant reed burns at 10,400 BTU/pound and has significantly higher energy densities than other bioenergy crops such as switchgrass (7,741 BTU/lb.), wheat straw (7,978 BTU/lb.), and hybrid poplar (8,178 BTU/lb.).

Giant reed is a sterile plant that does not produce viable seeds. It propagates via its rhizomes and stem portion of its stalk. Giant reed is expensive to produce at commercial volumes using standard propagation techniques. Hexas’ proprietary propagation system allows us to rapidly propagate plantations of giant reed plants for very low costs and to maximize biomass yield to meet commercial scale production requirements. Our giant reed production costs are less than the production costs for other bioenergy crops, including sugar cane, for example, as giant reed has low water and fertilizer requirements and does not require pesticide use, among other advantages.

Giant reed is a premier carbon credit crop as it sequesters up to 8.5 tons of carbon per acre annually. Giant reed sequesters carbon by absorbing carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. This carbon is stored by the rhizome below ground and the soil. Other forms of biomass, such as forests or non-food crops (i.e., switchgrass and sugarcane), sequester carbon but fail to measure to up the carbon sequestration capabilities of giant reed. Giant reed also is a nitrogen fixer.

Hexas uses and promotes the use of environmentally conscious farming-lifecycle techniques to produce feedstock from giant reed and other non-wood biomass feedstocks. To reduce transportation costs to customers’ facilities and minimize our carbon footprint, Hexas intends to grow its giant reed feedstock near customers’ production facilities. Hexas can grow our giant reed in nearly all soil types, including on high salinity and marginal land. Hexas’ has ecotypes of giant reed that are both cold tolerant and produce more biomass that other ecotypes of giant reed.

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