St. Gabriel biofuels plant near completion

The LSU AgCenter Audubon Sugar Institute is nearing the completion of a pilot plant in St. Gabriel that will be used to make biofuels and biochemicals from agricultural crops and byproducts.

The AgCenter will mark the plant’s completion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Jan. 25.

“The facility can be scaled up to any capacity,” project director Vadim Kochergin said in a news release. “The focus is on primary processing of sweet sorghum, energy cane and other grassy feedstocks,” he said.

The pilot plant, located at the Audubon Sugar Institute at 3845 La. 75 in St. Gabriel, is the centerpiece of the AgCenter’s Sustainable Bioproducts Initiative. The pilot plant is part of a larger project funded by a five-year, $17.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The department announced the grant — one of five awarded nationwide — in September 2011.