True rock and roll fans will recognize the name Chuck Leavell as keyboardist for the Rolling Stones – in addition to many other well-known rock legends such as The Allman Brothers and Eric Clapton.
He is also a Georgia tree farmer and an environmentalist who actively supports the development of ethanol production from woody biomass. “I think it’s one of the most important things we can do right now,” Leavell says. “And we are doing it. There’s a number of pilot programs out there getting off the ground. It’s not perfected yet, but that’s the great thing about this country is that we put our minds to it and we can make it happen.”
Leavell points out that trees are organic, natural and renewable. “And we will be using parts of the trees that are normally not used – the slash, the twigs, the limbs, and so forth.” He advocates harvesting forest waste to make biofuel, which at the same time helps to protect against wildfires. “If we take care of the forests, they’ll take care of us,” he said.
Leavell has taken an active interest in the development of Range Fuels, a cellulosic pilot project in his home state of Georgia using woody biomass, and he thinks the southeast is becoming very aware of the potential for this technology in the future.
You can listen to an interview with Chuck Leavell here: [audio:http://www.zimmcomm.biz/ams/ams-08-leavell-1.mp3]