By-products to help greening efforts

January 19, 2010 at 3:45 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Not long ago when travelling on U. S. 90, we would see mountains of bagasse piled high outside the sugar refinery in Raceland going to waste. Now, we hear that bagasse could play a future in our greening of America by providing an important ingredient for biofuel.

The sugar industry is not looking for a replacement for sugar. It is looking for by-products of sugar cane that could serve other uses also.

So stalks of sugar cane raised on Louisiana farms would provide biofuel in addition to the sweetener it puts on your dinner table. Farms in the midwest which produce ethanol, on the other hand, grow their corn crops only for that one purpose.

LSU AgCenter is researching that possibility of putting bagasse to use as a second product of the sugar cane stalk after the sugar has been extracted. That would certainly benefit the sugar industry which at one time was our state’s major business.

The LSU study will also include the use of branches, bark and other debris that remains after the forestry industry takes away its trees for the making of lumber. That by-product could also be used for biofuel.

It makes sense to seek additional uses for our agricultural resources that make them more valuable and creates more jobs. It can certainly benefit our economy by producing more saleable product without much additional investment.

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