Alan Doering doesn't have the word "waste" in his vocabulary. As the scientist heading up the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute's (AURI) coproduct utilization program, Doering sees crop residue, agricultural processing leftovers and biomass as products with value worth exploring. AURI is a nonprofit corporation based in Waseca, Minnesota that works to develop new uses for the state's agricultural products and ag processing coproducts. Two Minnesota ethanol plants have installed gasification equipment, which allows biomass materials to displace natural gas. Biodiesel is a growing industry as a vegetable oil-based diesel fuel replacement. Biodiesel refining creates coproducts. Mixing 100 pounds of soybean oil with 10 pounds of alcohol yields about 100 pounds of biodiesel and 10 pounds of glycerin. In the past several years, many people have changed their opinions about coproducts, says AURI's Doering. Instead of seeing coproducts as a problem to deal with, they're being recognized as potential new revenue streams.
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