There is another biofuel feedstock entering the mix next spring. SunBelt Biofuels LLC, based in Georgia, has announced that it will sell registered and certified rhizomes of its Freedom Giant Miscanthus to several hundred Southest U.S. licensed growers. This will mark an unusual relationship in that SunBelt has an exclusive licensing agreement with Mississippi State University.
According to a company news statement, the crop was selected after 12 years of research conducted by the university. This non genetically modified feedstock grows well in the Southeast, takes less land, costs less to grow and will provide solid revenue for growers. Studies have shown that the feedstock will produce over 3,000 gallons of ethanol per acre. On average, one acre of corn produces around 450 gallons of ethanol.
SunBelt Biofuels heralds the crops ability to stimulate rural economies citing that farms that grow Freedom Giant Miscanthus will see income rise more than $2 billion above crops that are currently grown. The company also touts the crops ability to gain energy independence for the state of Georgia.
According to SunBelt Biofuels’ CEO Phillip Jennings, Georgia needs to plant 2.4 million acres of Freedom Giant Miscanthus to become energy independent. “In Georgia, we can take 10 percent of our commercial timber land or 24 percent of our crop land, and we would be where we need to be to sustain just this one state.”
Jennings continued, “With 10 million acres of Freedom Giant Miscanthus, Georgia would become the number 7 OPEC fuel producer in the world.”