Clemson’s switchgrass heading to Europe
By Peter Hull
Researchers at Clemson University’s Pee Dee Research and Education Center in Florence have teamed with a Charleston company to supply switchgrass to European power plants as a substitute for coal to generate electricity.
Carolina-Pacific LLC will ship more than 350,000 tons of switchgrass per year beginning in 2012. The initiative is worth more than $20 million a year to South Carolina farmers during the next decade.
Clemson agronomist James Frederick, who studies the science and technology of utilizing plants for food and fuel, said the initiative will benefit South Carolina farmers and rural communities along the Interstate 95 corridor.
“Wide-scale switchgrass production will help fill the economic losses created by the decline in markets for the region’s traditional crops, such as cotton and tobacco,” Frederick said.
Carolina-Pacific will pay farmers for their crops and Clemson researchers will assist in how to plant crops and make the most from their fields.