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Tenn. Refinery Demands B.) Grass, Says Nobody Rides For Free

Posted in Alt Fuels, Biofuel, Emissions, Fuel, Hybrid Technologies, Newsworthy, Oil Industry by Suzanne Denbow | October 16th, 2008 | Leave a Reply |

Switchgrass field growing at the University of Tennessee Research and Education Center in Milan, Tenn.

On Tuesday, partners in the Tennessee Bio-fuels Initiative broke ground on a new research refinery engineered to convert switchgrass and corn cobs into an ethanol mixture researchers have dubbed “Grassoline.” Alternatively referred to as “prairie grass”, switchgrass is as common as loose soil in the Volunteer state, and is virtually indestructible. In addition to harvesting the region’s existing switchgrass crops, the state has also begun funding a handful of farmers to utilize a portion of Tennessee’s estimated 1.5 million virgin acres to cultivate switchgrass exclusively. “It’s a win-win situation for everyone in the state,” explained Dr. Kelly Tiller, director of operations for the University of Tennessee Office of Bio energy Programs as well as a key advisor in the construction and operation of the biofuel plant. “Instead of revenues associated with retail gasoline purchases flowing out of the state and overseas, revenue from locally produced fuels will circulate within our own communities many times over providing funding for jobs and to improve local infrastructure like schools.”

While Tennessee’s biofuel refinery is by no means the first of its kind, established “greeneries” like DuPont-Danico laud Tennessee’s enterprise as the furthest ahead of the curve. “Nowhere has a state put all the pieces together like Tennessee,” said Joseph Skurla, president and chief executive of the DuPont-Danisco partnership. “Tennessee has leveraged its natural advantage into a foundation for the future.”

Sources: MSNBC & UT Institute of Agriculture

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