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Cellulosic ethanol plant to break ground

The groundbreaking for Tennessee’s first of its kind pilot-scale cellulosic ethanol refinery will be celebrated with an official ceremony at the site of the future plant Oct. 14, at 2 p.m., at the Niles Ferry Industrial Park, Vonore, Tenn.

Instead of the traditional ribbon-wrapped shovel, a local farmer, David Richesin, will join Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen and others in using a tractor and planter to initiate the biorefinery’s construction.

Richesin is one of 16 local farmers under contract to the UT Institute of Agriculture to produce switchgrass as a feedstock for the biorefinery.

In addition to. Bredesen and Richesin, scheduled participants in the rain-or-shine event include Sen. Bob Corker, state Reps. Zach Wamp and John J. Duncan Jr., University of Tennessee President John Petersen, DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol President Joe Skurla, and Monroe County Mayor Allan Watson.

Leaders and scientists from the UT Institute of Agriculture, which is spearheading the effort to produce farm-based biofuels, will also be on hand.

Background about the biorefinery, the Tennessee Biofuels Initiative and the state’s effort to position itself as a leader in the development of bio-based fuels is available online:

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