New Use for Tobacco is Offered by Danville Company

Published on June 14th, 2011 12:57
tobacco plant

Can you imagine that farmers could profitably grow tobacco in greater quantities than before? If a company as for instance Dan River Business Development Center has its idea, that will happen, but tobacco in this case will be used to produce biofuels and not cigarettes.

Peter Majeranowski, a founder and director of Tyton BioSciences, stated that a lot of time has gone into the product, which will be genetically modified in order to create both ethanol and biodiesel that exceed greatly the traditional crops of corn and soy. And most of all because corn and soy are food crops, thus using tobacco to produce the same products can lessen the discontent that food prices are increasing due to demand for crops as fuel, Majeranowski stated.

Smoking-grade tobacco was more complicated to grow than the crop his company is developing, Majeranowski stated. Farmers will be able to plant approximately 100,000 plants per acre, rather than 6,000 plants per acre of smoking-grade tobacco. This tobacco can be processed being still green as opposing to regular tobacco that should go through the drying process. Also one more advantage is than tobacco fields for biofuels can yield two to three harvests per year according to Majeranowski. “We can even chop tobacco close to the ground and it will grow back. We shouldn’t worry about flavor as well as how many green leaves we can get per acre,” Majeranowski said.

The seeds are of course tested, but the company has successfully processed the genetically changed plants to extract sugar for ethanol and oil for biodiesel fuel. The sugar and oil are extracted in larger quantities in comparison to amount of soy and corn.

Majeranowski said that it had a meeting with Liam Leightley and Barry Flinn from the Institute for Sustainable and Renewable Resource and was very impressed with the facility. The new Sustainable Energy Technology Center at the institute was one of the factors that Tyton BioSciences selected Danville for its new home. “This center is situated just several minutes from our office and we will continue to collaborate on particular fields of our research,” Majeranowski stated.

It few days the company will receive a respond on whether it will obtain a 2.2 million grant from the Tobacco Commission, which together with about $2 million of its own investment, will get new seed closer to production. “We have founded our company in Danville beyond the potential Tobacco Commission grant period mostly because of Danville’s rich tobacco history and good practice in tobacco growing, as well as its new research facilities. We are also eager to help the agricultural community with a new tobacco crop, which will help the country to eradicate its addiction to foreign energy,” Majeranowski concluded.

By Joanna Johnson, Staff Writer. Copyright © 2011 All rights reserved.

Related tags: tobacco company | tobacco plant | tobacco use

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