A new mobile lab is helping to move Clemson University further into the growing world of biofuel research. The new $125,000 mobile biofuels processing plant is a state-of-the-art pilot facility. It’s seen as a valuable research instrument to demonstrate biofuel production through the conversion of plants, microbes, and waste oils. Clemson University professor Dr. Terry Walker is a biosystems engineer. Walker says the unit has already been put into operation.
Walker says South Carolina is fairly visible in the U.S. biofuels industry with a number of manufacturers including Ecogy Biofuels in the Lowcountry town of Estill, Carolina Biofuels in Taylors and Midlands Biofuels in Winnsboro.
Walker says since the lab is mobile, it will be carried to a number of destinations throughout the state including the Florecne area where the annual biomass meeting will be held later this fall at Clemson University’s Pee Dee Research and Education Center.
Walker says a number of varieties of plant life can be converted to biofuels including corn, algae, and fungi. A number of waste oils can also be used including some readily available on the Clemson University campus. Walker says the production of biofuels can be an economic boon for the state’s economy. Walker says one example is the rejuvenation of out-of-production farmland along the I-95 corridor into valuable fuel producing acreage.
Walker says biodiesel is in demand now as many automakers are producing vehicles that run on alternative fuels– including the one he drives.