New Energy Farms (NEF) announces the commercial release of CEEDS™ technology, a major breakthrough in energy crop establishment following many years of development. CEEDS™ solves all the issues that have previously made it difficult to scale high yielding energy crops to produce price-competitive biofuel feedstocks. NEF have previously established commercial demonstrations of CEEDSTM, and will be supplying customers commercially for spring planting in 2014.

CEEDS™ (Crop, Expansion, Encapsulation and Delivery System), developed by NEF, is an ‘artificial seed’ technology for use with feedstock crops such as napier grass, sugar cane, energycane, Arundo donax and Miscanthus. These crops are amongst the highest yielding feedstock crops available, but typically cannot be established using conventional seed routes. They have always been established using standard vegetative propagation, which is difficult to scale up and only under very specific conditions can be very large scale, such as sugar cane. CEEDSTM technology is applicable to all energy grass crops supplied by NEF, with wider applications for other vegetatively propagated crops such as sugar cane, where it can be considerably cheaper and more convenient.

CEEDS™ planting units are encapsulated and coated pre-grown vegetative tissue, in a soilless medium, greenhouse grown for maximum health (images below). Each planting unit is about the size of a wine cork. They can be planted without hand labour at conventional drill rates, with either NEF equipment designed to establish in conventional, min till or no till situations or some existing onfarm planting equipment. Compared to current planting weights of energy crops in the range of 1 – 10 t/ha for Miscanthus to sugar cane respectively, CEEDS™ require a planted weight of less than 250kg/ha. This offers impressive savings in terms of logistics and ease of planting not previously available to these crops.

The CEEDS™ pilot production plant is located at Leamington, Ontario which is currently being expanded to meet market demand for North America. Further sites are planned in different geographical regions to meet demand. The range of crops for 2014 covers perennial grasses for ethanol, anaerobic digestion, thermal power, animal protein, sugar and fibre.

CEEDS™ technology permits past, present and future genetics to become marketable as clonal, true-to-type planting materials. It also provides a stable platform for future inclusion of GM traits. NEF’s own breeding programmes, together with other collaborators, will provide a continuous pipeline of significantly improved genetics. NEF are seeking further breeding partners with vegetative cultivars looking for a route to market.

Previous plantings of CEEDS™ have taken place in Ontario, Georgia, North Carolina and Florida with additional crop plantings planned this year in Louisiana. CEEDS™ will be available to customers in North America for Spring 2014. For supply outside these regions please contact NEF for availability. The CEEDS™ Open Day at Leamington, Ontario in September will feature napier grass, Arundo donax and Miscanthus, plus other crops all planted using CEEDS™ technology (to attend please pre register via the NEF website).

CEEDS™ Images (Please email us if you require high quality images of these)

Size comparison; CEEDS™ left (<20g each) and right typical planting propagule for vegetative crop (Arundo donax) >500g each. CEEDS has a planting weight in line with row crops of <250 kg Ha (220 Lb Acre) which is 20x less than some vegetative establishment options but produces more vigorous growth than the larger propagules.

NEF size comparison of CEEDS