The University of Florida, Buckeye Technologies Inc. and Myriant Technology LLC today announced plans for a research and demonstration plant near Perry to explore ways to produce "environmentally-friendly" plastics or other petroleum-products from cellulosic ethanol.
The plant will be located at Buckeye Florida's 90-acre site where the company produces pulp products that other companies use to produce disposable diapers and automotive filters and cellulose for food products.
According to the University of Florida, the project will seek to combine technologies that have been developed at UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences along with those licensed to the Verenium Corp. and Myriant. Those technologies could extend the benefits of cellulosic ethanol production to other products than just fuel.
“We’re trying to break our dependence on petroleum," UF professor Lonnie Ingram said in a news release from IFAS. "Fuel is a big part of that, but it’s not the only part.”
The plant may use wood products or wood waste produced by Buckeye Florida and may lead to new products being produced there, plant spokesman Dan Simmons said.
He said the UF plant will use a minimal 1.6 million gallons of water per year and won't need its own wastewater treatment permit because its discharge will be treated through Buckeye Florida's system. The company's pollution of the Fenholloway River has been controversial for at least the past 15 years, though Simmons said Buckeye has reduced water use, is using less chemicals and is removing organic matter from its waste discharge.
To read the UF IFAS news release, click here.
Story copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and FloridaEnvironments.com.