Giant sweet potatoes could help South Carolina get into the ethanol game and provide an alternative crop for farmers to replace tobacco.
At the recent International Biomass Conference and Expo in St. Louis, Dr. Janice Ryan-Bohac attracted a lot of attention carrying around a sweet potato the size of a newborn baby.
She’s the president of CAREnergy, Carolina Advanced Renewable Energy, located in South Carolina and dedicated to the development of dedicated energy crops for the southeast, such as the eTuber™ sweet potato and sweet sorghum. “We are looking at feedstocks for ethanol and other fuels for the southeastern states because corn is not a crop that does well in the southeast. So, what we want is a very efficient crop for water, nitrogen, very high yielding,” she said, and the eTuber meets those qualifications. “These are very dry sweet potatoes, these are not in the food market, it would be a dedicated energy crop,” she explained. “We would like to build or takeover a corn ethanol plant to show that these feedstocks work, in combination with sweet sorghum, which does very well in the southeast. We want to get in the ethanol game and create clean, green jobs in one of the poorest areas of the United States.”
Janice says the tubers can grow to be over 20 pounds, which would translate into enough starch to produce 1500-1800 gallons of ethanol per acre. “The longer you grow them, the bigger they get. This crop never dies until the frost kills it.”
Listen to or download my interview with Dr. Janice Ryan-Bohac here: Dr. Janice Ryan-Bohac, CAREnergy