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Cellulosic Ethanol Pilot Plant Dedication to Be Held on the UF Campus

  • By:
    Stu Hutson – (352) 273-3569

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A ceremony to dedicate the new cellulosic ethanol pilot plant on the UF campus will be held this Friday October 10, 2008. The program will begin at 1:00pm in room 141 of Frazier Rogers Hall with brief statements from UF President Bernie Machen, Senior Vice President Jimmy Cheek as well as alternative energy researcher Lonnie Ingram. Following the statements, Ingram will conduct tours of the plant.

If your news organization would like to attend, please contact Stu Hutson or Mickie Anderson via the contact information at:

Mickie Anderson: (352) 273-3566, mickiea@ufl.edu

Background

A breakthrough technology developed by Dr. Lonnie Ingram in the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences uses genetically modified E. coli bacteria to produce fuel ethanol from plant biomass, such as sugarcane residues, rice hulls, municipal waste, wood wastes as well as other organic materials.

The technology uses the bacteria to target sugars in cellulosic materials. Since the process uses waste products, there is no negative impact on the food supply.

While a large demonstration facility is being planned in South Florida in partnership with Florida Crystals, a smaller biofuels research pilot plant has been built in a new addition of the west end of Frazier Rogers Hall. The lab will be used for research and to train graduate students in biofuel production, purification and testing.

According to Ingram, half of the automotive fuel in the United States currently imported from foreign countries could be replaced with ethanol from renewable agricultural crops and forest wastes. Because of its warm climate, Florida could be the nation’s top ethanol-producing state. Initially, the laboratory will focus on fuel ethanol conversion technologies and then expand to include process development for production of other biofuels such as hydrogen, biogas and biodiesel.

The new plant will also explore the commercial viability of cellulosic ethanol technologies while addressing environmental concerns and sustainability.

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