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NEWS

October 29, 2008

RSU Announces Establishment of Biofuels Assistance Center

Rogers State University has announced it will provide support for area businesses seeking to develop biofuels from crop residues and various waste products through the establishment of the Biofuels Assistance Center on the Claremore campus.

The new Biofuels Assistance Center, which will be located at the RSU Innovation Center, will promote economic expansion in rural northeastern Oklahoma by supporting the production of biofuels including biodiesel and ethanol, said Dr. Ray Brown, RSU vice president for economic and community development.

"Helping entrepreneurs develop renewable energy sources is another way to positively impact the rural economy of northeastern Oklahoma," Brown said. "This region is home to several agricultural products that are potential feedstocks including wheat, soybeans and sorghum. The availability of these feedstocks plus the woody byproducts from timber mills, old utility poles and railroad cross ties has created an increased interest in developing biofuels."

The establishment of the Biofuels Assistance Center was made possible by a grant of $51,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Rural Business Enterprise Grant was funded through the Oklahoma Rural Business Cooperative Service. The USDA Rural Development branch administers several federal grant programs including housing, utility, business and other initiatives to help build and strengthen rural communities.

"USDA Rural Development is proud to partner with Rogers State University on this important project with funding through our business programs. Projects like this will help rural Oklahoma continue to find ways to add value to the rich commodities we grow in our state," said Brent Kisling, Oklahoma director of USDA Rural Development.

The grant will allow RSU Innovation Center to assist in the funding of feasibility studies for businesses that want to explore opportunities in the biofuels industry.

"The Biofuels Assistance Center will be a ‘one-stop shop' providing technical assistance with feasibility studies, market analysis and business planning for companies interested in biofuels production," Brown said.

The Center can assist agricultural producers and biofuel manufacturers seeking to expand production and find alternative sources of feed stock for the production of biofuels, he said. The Center also will assist farmers who wish to utilize unused land or start their own biofuels production and distribution businesses.

Other potential biofuel sources include crop residues, yellow grease from restaurants and chicken fat from poultry processors, Brown said.

The RSU Innovation Center provides counseling services to businesses that need assistance with business plans, financial planning, management and marketing for a small fee or no cost.

For more information about opportunities and services available at the RSU Innovation Center, call (918) 343-7533.