Landrieu helps 'open' new sugar facility

Linda Benedict, Bogren, Richard C.  |  10/19/2010 8:21:21 PM

The LSU AgCenter’s Audubon Sugar Institute celebrated new facilities and afederal grant at an open house Aug. 31, 2004.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) took part in the activities and touted the institute’s role in keeping Louisiana’s sugar industry at the forefront of the national and global markets.

The federal grant, which the Audubon Sugar Institute shares with the Michigan Biotechnology Institute International, provides $491,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy to study the conversion of sugarcane byproducts into products of signifi cant value, such as fuel replacement and specialty chemicals.

The open house also provided an opportunity for the offi cial unveiling of the institute’s new $4.5 million facility, which includes a 27,000-square-foot laboratory building and more than 4 acres of land on River Road in St. Gabriel. It formerly was the research and development facility of Syngenta Crop Protection, which donated the facility to the LSU AgCenter.

“This is the single largest donation to the LSU AgCenter,” said Chancellor William B. Richardson. “This will help us expand our research in sugar processing and technology transfer.”

The federal research grant provides fi rst-year funding for a four-year project to produce value-added products from bagasse and molasses, said Peter Rein, head of the Audubon Sugar Institute.

Bagasse, the fi brous material that remains after sugar is pressed from sugarcane, currently is burned as fuel in sugarcane mills, but the researchers hope to increase the value of what is now considered a waste product.

“The focus is adding value to cane biomass,” Rein said. “This will allow the processors to get revenue from something other than the sugar.”

Landrieu, a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, is seeking another $2 million in the fi scal 2005 budget for the project.

Rick Bogren

(This article was published in the fall 2004 issues of Louisiana agriculture magazine.)

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