The Eastern Kentucky based Patriot Bioenergy Corporation is planning to build an ethanol plant that will use energy beets as fuel instead of corn. PBC is considering a 99-acre plot of land in Williamsburg, Kentucky for the project, and is preparing 20 acres of energy beets for the project.

The project received a recent boost when the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) deregulated a variety of sugar beet genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate. This variety is commonly referred to as Roundup Ready sugar beets.

Patriot Energy has a 20-acre farm of energy beets prepared for the construction of its Williamsburg energy plant. Credit: Patriot Energy.

“We are pleased with the USDA action to deregulate Roundup Ready energy beet and look forward to the expansion of our field trials as we move forward. This is an important milestone for our strategic feedstock partner and for Patriot Bioenergy’s project development that will enable us to more efficiently produce feedstock,” said Patriot CEO Roger Ford.

PBC field trials of sugar beets have been underway since spring of 2011 in Whitley, Kentucky. In the spring of 2012, PBC expanded field trials in Whitley County and included Adair County. Those field trials are progressing, with harvesting to occur in September/October 2012.

PBC will conduct fall 2012 field trials with the RR sugar beets beginning in September. Sites will include current field trial sites, with expansion into Pike County, Kentucky.

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