Alternative energy research in Pee Dee region

By Peter Kent

Scientists are seeking new methods to produce flue-cured tobacco, a major cash crop in the Pee Dee region.

A grant from Philip Morris International will be used to hire a plant scientist and expand test facilities at the Pee Dee Research and Education Center in Florence, enabling research aimed at reducing grower costs.

“We will be looking at alternative energy sources — solar and alternative biofuels, such as switchgrass, which we grow experimentally,” said Bruce Fortnum, director of the Pee Dee center and project leader.

The research will include variety trials and weed control, in addition to new methods to cure tobacco and conserve energy.

For information: Bruce Fortnum, 843-662-3526 ext 259,