Oxford Resource Partners, LP, a low-cost producer of high-value steam coal in Northern Appalachia and the Illinois Basin, and Mendel Biotechnology, Inc. are collaborating to develop a pilot project to produce Mendel’ss proprietary Miscanthus varieties on land previously reclaimed from mining operations by Oxford.
The goal of the project is to demonstrate the feasibility and economic viability of biomass production from dedicated energy crops in eastern Ohio.
Miscanthus is a genus of high-yielding perennial grass that has shown promise as a sustainable source of renewable energy. Its deep rhizome structure and broad adaptation make it a potentially attractive crop for converting reclaimed mine land to a source of biomass for electricity or liquid transportation fuel.
Oxford markets its coal primarily to large electric utilities with coal-fired, base-load scrubbed power plants under long-term coal sales contracts. As of 31 December 2009, Oxford controlled 91.6 million tons of proven and probable coal reserves, and it currently operates 17 active mines that are managed as eight mining complexes. Oxford is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.
Mendel Biotechnology, Inc. applies functional genomics to the study of plant genes and is a leading developer of dedicated energy crops for the bioenergy markets. Mendel has relationships with leading agricultural, energy, forestry and horticulture companies for the commercialization of improved seed and plant products, and is developing new seed and feedstock products for the emerging bioenergy market.