About “Beyond the Rows”

Beyond the Rows is a Monsanto Company blog focused on one of the world’s most important industries, agriculture. Monsanto employees write about Monsanto’s business, the agriculture industry, and the farmer.
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Using Discarded Corn Seed for Fuel

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As we work to increase our sustainability efforts, we are examining innovative ways to reduce the environmental footprint of our sites. From recycling efforts to emissions, we’re constantly looking for ways to reduce and reuse our materials.

In 2007, our manufacturing operation located at the Muscatine, Iowa, plant began using discarded corn seed as supplemental fuel in their coal-fired boiler. Normally, this seed is shipped to third party incinerators or landfills to be destroyed or disposed of.

The Muscatine team found that they could burn the seed on premise, and the results were outstanding.  Since 2007, the plant has been able to burn approximately 8,000 tons of seed per year, displacing 4,500 tons per year of coal. The financial impact was just as impressive.  Monsanto was able to save approximately $800,000 per year between the reduced coal costs at Muscatine and the reduced costs of discard seed disposal from the seed sites.  In 2012, the Muscatine plant was able to further increase the amount of seed corn burned, resulting in an additional $106,000 per year in fuel savings and $50,000 annually in avoided disposal costs.

Additionally, beyond the plant, this program led to a reduction of the carbon footprint in the community. The plant cut its carbon dioxide levels by 10,600 tons. And as an added benefit, the corn is a cleaner burning fuel than coal, resulting in a reduction of 19 tons of sulfur dioxide annually. Burning 8,000 tons of seeds per year displaces 4,500 tons of coal.

This report is excerpted from Monsanto’s 2012 Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Report. The entire report is available at Monsanto.com.

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