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Joe DiPietro talks biofuels at Iowa forum

As part of a forum on rural economics Tuesday, University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro got a chance to discuss the potential of switchgrass as a biofuel with the White House administration.

The event, at Northeast Iowa Community College, was part of President Barack Obama's Midwest bus tour.

DiPietro participated in a breakout session on renewable energy and agriculture led by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. DiPietro pushed the idea of introducing a new commodity in the marketplace -- in Tennessee's case, switchgrass -- and the ability to build a new industry and generate new jobs, reports Megan Boehnke in the Knoxville News Sentinel.

The switchgrass program still is in the demonstration phase, but with more help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it could more easily expand into commercial phase, DiPietro said. 

Genera Energy and Dupont Danisco currently partner on a demonstration biofuel refinery in Vonore, Tenn.

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