VISALIA — With corn prices up and demand rising, work is under way in the Valley to develop two biorefineries to make ethanol without using the golden grain.
In Visalia, fast-growing grasses and cornstalks could be the fuel of the future. EdeniQ, a local biofuel technology company, and Virginia-based Logos Technologies are building a plant to demonstrate the commercial promise of fibrous and woody materials.
On the Valley's west side, it's all about sugar beets. Engineers are drawing up plans for a plant near Mendota to distill ethanol from sugar beets, and to make methane and electricity from farm waste.
Both efforts are attracting attention -- and money -- from federal and state agencies eager to boost alternative fuel production.
In late 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy jointly awarded EdeniQ and Logos a grant for more than $20.4 million to help pay for the Visalia project. It was one of 19 plants across the country to receive more than $600 million from the Biorefinery Assistance Program.
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