NexSteppe expands in South Africa

Anna Rath, founder and Ceo of NexSteppe
Anna Rath, founder and Ceo of NexSteppe

The South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has approved four NexSteppe sorghum hybrids for commercial sale in country. Approved hybrids include both Malibu sweet sorghum and Palo Alto biomass sorghum hybrids. NexSteppe is a US company dedicated to pioneering the next generation of scalable, reliable, cost-effective and sustainable feedstock solutions for the biofuels, biopower, biogas and biobased products industries.

“We are very pleased that the government has recognized the contribution that NexSteppe hybrids can make to the developing bioeconomy in South Africa,” said Anna Rath, NexSteppe CEO.  “With this approval, we are now in a position to meet the needs of partners developing biopower, biofuel and biogas projects in South Africa.”

Two out of three people in Sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity. A major focus of this year’s U.N. climate talks, hosted by Morocco, was combining Africa’s efforts to fight climate change with its need to increase energy production and build a sustainable, clean energy future.

The Californian company’s products will play a critical role in enabling Africa to leapfrog traditional fossil fuel-based approaches in favor of a cleaner, renewable baseload and more distributed generation of power from biomass.

All of NexSteppe’s product lines feature a variety of hybrids that are adapted to different environments and seasons, thus they can provide a wide range of maturities to meet varying customer harvest-window profiles.

“We look forward to working with South African farmers to better understand and target the specific needs of this new market,” said Jason Blake, Vice President of Business Development for Europe, North America and Africa.

NexSteppe’s Palo Alto biomass sorghum hybrids provide a high-yielding, low-cost biomass feedstock for biopower and cellulosic biofuels. Designed to have low moisture levels at maturity, Palo Alto biomass sorghums significantly lessen the amount of water harvested, thereby reducing the harvest and transport costs that can be 50 percent or more of total delivered feedstock cost. Lower moisture levels also provide a higher effective energy density for combustion.

NexSteppe’s Malibu sweet sorghum hybrids – the company claims – have been optimized to provide an easily accessible source of fermentable sugars for the production of advanced biofuels and biobased products. Malibu sweet sorghums can be used as a complement to sugarcane to provide additional feedstock for existing sugar-to-ethanol mills or can provide a source of readily available fermentable sugars in regions without enough water to support sugarcane production.


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