Oklahoma exploring its alternatives

By: Teddy Safo Email
By: Teddy Safo Email

An Oklahoma bill that would turn switch grass into fuel has received overwhelming support from lawmakers, and it could mean growth for southern Oklahoma’s economy.

Senate Bill 609 passed both sides of the legislature last week. Alternative fuel research is part of Governor Brad Henry’s initiative to lower dependency on petroleum. Now lawmakers are hoping he puts the pen to the paper.

The bill takes effect immediately if the governor signs. This will provide $40 million of research money over a four-year period to develop switch grass, which grows naturally in fields, into a sustainable bio fuel.

It’s good news for local farmers as well, planting a grass that’s easy to maintain.

It’s even better news for the Noble Foundation in Ardmore. The bio center specializes in plant science, and they would like to see switch grass become the fuel of the future.

"Most of our research is going to focus on plant science of course. That’s our expertise we will work with OSU and OU to develop better feed stocks for bio energy industry in Oklahoma,” said Steve Rhines, V.P. of the Noble Foundation.

Plant researchers from noble foundation say there are more benefits of converting switch grass to ethanol than corn.


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