Florida State Representative Debbie Mayfield dumped a load of sugarcane waste to dedicate a new pilot biorefinery this week in honor of her late husband, Stan Mayfield.
The dedication ceremony involved Mayfield pulling the lever on a front-end loader to dump a pile of pulverized sugarcane stalks, officially delivering the first shipment of feedstock to the facility, which will now be known as the Stan Mayfield Biorefinery Pilot Plant. The plant is located in Perry, Florida and is a cooperative venture between the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and Buckeye Technologies Inc. The facility will be operated as a UF/IFAS satellite laboratory researching the use of inedible plant material to produce fuel ethanol, such as sugarcane waste.
When fully operational, the biorefinery will produce up to 400 gallons of fuel ethanol and 5,000 pounds of organic acids for bioplastics each day. Some of the researchers’ goals include testing a wide variety of feedstocks, such as crop residues and yard waste, and finding ways to save money on production costs.
Stan Mayfield was a member of the state House of Representatives from 2000 until his death in 2008 and was instrumental in securing a $20 million appropriation from the Florida Legislature to fund the biorefinery. A UF graduate, Mayfield was a strong advocate of renewable fuels, environmental protection and economic growth.