Creativity breeds alternatives

Published 5:02 pm Wednesday, June 10, 2009

By Staff
A press conference at Alabama State University’s Southern Normal campus Tuesday was designed to show off some interesting uses for alternative fuels — but it also amounted to a meeting of some very creative minds.
As researcher George Turnipseed said, if private investors don’t get involved to put ideas before into the public sector, they can stay in laboratories for years without exposure and practical application.
So Turnipseed and fellow researcher Tom Silver have partnered with Brewton area investors, including Brewton geologist Roger Chapman, to create Alabama Alternative Energy Solutions LLC, a company that will help facilitate the practical application of those ideas knocking around in the heads of scientists.
And the new company, in turn, is partnering with Alabama State University’s Southern Normal campus, which hopes to be a hub in the region for research into alternative fuels.
For the Brewton area, the benefits can multiply.
For one thing, alternative fuels projects such as wood gasification and biodiesel creation can use timber byproducts — especially useful at a time when timber prices are low in a stagnant economy. The new company, while it is in its infancy, has the potential to grow and create jobs for our community.
Fuel created could be used by schools, the county and area cities as a more cost-effective way to run vehicles. And that fuel can be created from waste from our very own households — including cooking grease that could be donated from homes and restaurants.
And the entire project helps cement ASU-Southern Normal’s purpose as an important education partner for our community and its economic development efforts.
Chapman, Silver, Turnip-seed and the others involved in the project have matched a growing trend — green energy — with very specific needs in our community to create a project and a business with multiple benefits.
At a time when businesses are struggling, it’s wonderful to see people thinking ahead and working to create new opportunities that help all of us.
Kerry Whipple Bean is publisher of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at 867-4876 or by e-mail at

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