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Two San Diego companies look to sorghum as a non-food resource

(Updated 11/5/11 with ChloroFill video interview at end of post.)

Yesterday Synthetic Genomics announced the spin-off of Agradis, an agricultural biotech charged with commercializing its advances in plant breeding and genomics.  (See Bruce Bigelow’s Xconomy Coverage) With Series A funding of $20 million, Agradis’ initial focus will be castor, sorghum and other cash crops. 

Sorghum presents Agradis opportunities to build upon a compelling set of plant attributes to create more advanced varieties for an expanded menu of uses including biofuels.  The emphasis is on solutions which can be grown on land unsuitable for food crops. 

San Diego-based ChloroFill is also on the sorghum band-wagon.  Last week they announced two new sorghum-based renewable building material products.

ChlorOSB and ChlorOSB(p) are fiberboards made with sorghum stalks- an agricultural waste product- and a formaldehyde-free binder.  Sorghum stalks have long been used for building materials. Their high cellulose content makes stalks light while remaining pliable and strong.  Sorghum grows in warmer climate and tropical regions of the world. It is a hyper-renewable resource that grows over six-feet high in as little as 110 days. Sorghum is used for food, fodder, alcoholic beverages, and biofuels. Stalks have been used throughout the ages for thatch, fences, baskets, brushes, paper and brooms. The supply, however, exceeds demand and the remaining stalks are often considered agricultural waste and disposed of by burning in fields. The environmental impact results in tons of carbon dioxide and nitrogen into the atmosphere every year.

ChloroFill boards can be used in many of the same nonstructural applications as bamboo, fiberboards, particle boards, plywood and oriented strand boards (OSB). Designer applications include:

Counter tops
Architectural Elements
Wall and Ceiling Coverings

“We are excited to launch our new superior treeless wood products, and we hope that our products become the carcinogen-free choice in green building materials for the interior design, building and furniture industries,” stated Michael Hurst, CEO of ChloroFill.

Click for video interview of Michael Hurst, ChloroFill CEO at Clean Tech Expo



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This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 at 4:09 pm and is filed under Biofuel, CleanTECH San Diego, Renewable Materials . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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