DeWitt Refinery Opens Door to Winter Crop

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Oct. 14, 2013 12:00 am  

The biorefinery at Mid-South Community College in West Memphis is the prototype for the one opening in DeWitt.

Did you hear DeWitt is getting a biorefinery?

The $27,000, refrigerator-sized gadget converts camelina, a wheat-like crop, into bio-fuel.

It’s owned by alt.Consulting of West Memphis, which leases it to Johnny Davis, a local entrepreneur. We heard the news from the Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation. The AAEF is hosting a grand opening for the refinery on Oct. 29 as part of its “farm-to-fuel” program.

So what’s the big deal?

Shelly Baron, a spokeswoman for the AAEF, said that if the refinery produces its estimated 1 million gallons of fuel per year, it will have a $1.3 million yearly economic impact for camelina farmers and an additional $750,000 for other businesses involved.

Not only that, but camelina is a winter crop, meaning farmers in the region can grow it in their off-season.

The refinery is based on a prototype housed at Mid-South Community College in West Memphis. Arkansas State University in Jonesboro also has one, a larger version, which it uses to power some of its equipment.

Finally, if the machine is successful, the city of DeWitt is prepared to pay $265,000 to turn it into a larger model like ASU’s, in which case Davis would continue leasing it.

If you want to check this thing out, the AAEF grand opening starts at 10 a.m. Oct. 29 at 523 Jefferson St. in DeWitt.

 

 

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