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New Winter Crop, Mini-Biorefinery to Launch in DeWitt

Submitted by on October 29, 2013 – 12:00 pmNo Comment

by Stephanie Fischer (Stuttgart Daily Leader)  DeWitt became the first Community of Innovation after city leaders saw the opportunity in developing a biofuel resource.

A new winter crop and the technology to turn it into biofuel are making their way to Arkansas County.

The City of DeWitt has been selected as the site for the launch of the first Farm to Fuel project, the Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation (AAEF) announced recently.

The event will be held Tuesday in DeWitt and is sponsored by AAEF, the educational affiliate of the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association, and alt.Consulting, a non-profit community economic development organization working in the Mississippi River Delta since 1998.  The launch will introduce area residents to Camelina — a new winter, energy crop — and the mini-biorefinery that will convert it into biofuel for the Delta.

According to AAEF, the mini-biorefinery, operated by Johnny Davis, will utilize a technology developed by Springboard Diesel to produce small batches of biofuel with an annual capacity of 80,000 gallons per year. As demand increases, DeWitt will obtain a larger micro‐biorefinery designed by Dr. Srikant Gir and developed at the Marion Berry Renewable Energy Research Center at Mid‐South Community College. It will have a production capacity of 200,000 to 1 million gallons per year. Once DeWitt has outgrown the mini‐biorefinery, alt.Consulting will move it to develop the next Community of Innovation.

As the Farm to Fuel project matures, rural communities across the region will have the capacity to generate, utilize and market millions of gallons of biodiesel produced from local energy crop feedstocks grown and harvested just miles away.

Tuesday’s event begins with a 10 a.m. press conference and mini-biorefinery tour at 523 S. Jefferson St. in DeWitt. Participants will be introduced to the Farm to Fuel project and will be able to see the first biofuel technology by rotating through demonstrations featuring Camelina crushing with a mobile crush unit, a refining station with waste vegetable oil and Camelina oil being run through the refinery.

A Farm to Fuel value chain panel discussion will be held at 11 a.m. at PCCUA-DeWitt, located at 1210 Rice Belt Ave. Participants will learn more about the Farm to Fuel program and see a documentary video produced about the process in DeWitt.

Lunch will feature Delta Regional Authority Chairman Chris Masingill. It will be held at noon at PCCUA-DeWitt.

The day will wrap up at 1:30 p.m. with a Camelina growers’ workshop with ASU faculty and information on improving rural livelihoods through the WealthWorks approach presented by Deb Markley with the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship and Barbara Wyckoff with Dynamica Consulting.   READ MORE

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