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West TN company hopes to make biofuel mainstream

Memphis-based BioDimensions is growing sugar beets on 200 acres near Whiteville, Tenn. in a facility shared with a local farmer.

Inside, they crush the crops to produce the roasted-sweet-smelling syrup they believe will be a key to a new industry in the Mid-South, reports Toby Sells of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Pete Nelson, one of the company's principals, calls beet juice "the new oil" and says anything made from oil, can be made from beet juice.

He hopes to be part of what could be an $8 billion dollar biofuels and bio-based products incustry in the mid-South, according to a 2009 study by the Memphis Bioworks Foundation.

The study (called the Regional Strategy for Biobased Products in the Mississippi Delta) looked at 98 contiguous counties in Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri and Kentucky.

In the next 10 years, this industry could support some 25,000 jobs in rural and urban locations around the Mid-South, the study said.

Read the full story at the Commercial Appeal.
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