4 minutes with… Edward Huxel, Co-Owner, Osage Orange BioProducts Company

March 17, 2015 |

Tell us about your company and it’s role in the Advanced Bioeconomy.

Our company theme is to create a profitable company that raises Osage Orange (Maclura promifera)trees on the southern plains of Oklahoma and Texas, and process the tree fruit for nonfood biomass products for renewable energy, biochemicals a livestock feed. The seeds are high in seed oil, starch and protein and the flesh is high in phytochemicals.

Tell us about your role and what you are focused on in the next 12 months.

Our goals for the next 12 months are:

– Expand tree nursery.

– Start-up pilot plant for extraction of seed

oil and phytochemiclals.

– Develope commercial products from the remaining

biomass.

– Establish agroforestry practices such as

silvopastures and alley cropping in this

region with ranchers and farmers..

– Develope a prototype mechanical harvester for

collecting fruit.

– Increase the number of trees availiable in the

wild for harvest. This requires brush removal

and branch trimming, and a contract with land

owners.

– Collect data on the amount of carbon

sequestration potential over the 75 to 150

year life of the Osage Orange tree.

What do you feel are the most important milestones the industry must achieve in the next 5 years?  

Important Milestones:

– Find economic incentives for farmers and

ranchers to change their current agriculture

practices to produce non-food biomass.

= Develope technology that reduces the high

capital equipment expenditure.

– Development of secondary, value adding

products from the feedstocks.

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the Advanced Bioeconomy, what would you change? 

Lack of banks to loan money for start-ups and venture capitalists requesting large ownership positions for participation. It is very difficult to receive funds from the federal government and it is not really an option for innovators and start-ups.

Of all the reasons that influenced you to join the Advanced Bioeconomy industry, what single reason stands out for you as still being compelling and important to you?  

The Osage orange tree is a native tree to this region. Our initial studies indicate that one tree can produce 100 – 200 pounds of solids. The solids contain 10 – 15% seed oil and 15% phytochemicals. The remaining solids are high in carbohydrates and protein for feed use. The trees are productive for 100 years and sequester large amounts of carbon.

Where are you from? 

I was born in Cleveland and grew up in Chardon, Ohio. I have lived in Fort Worth, Texas for the last 35 years.

What was your undergraduate major in college, and where did you attend? Why did you choose that school and that pathway?

B.S. Ohio State University – Food Technology

M.S. Oregon State University – Food Science

M.S. University of California, Davis –

Agricultral and Food Engineering

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Category: Million Minds

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