DANVILLE (WSLS10) - One of Tyton Bioenergy's specialties is converting raw tobacco oil into jet fuel, a process it's just improved.
"The breakthrough that we have now is being able to take the tobacco oil and turn it directly into jet fuel," said Tyton's Chief Operating Officer Conor Hartman.
Tyton contracts with local farmers to grow the tobacco.
Hartman said with this new process, the company anticipates a big demand for its jet fuel once it is ready to start marketing it. He said that means they'll likely have to contract with more local farmers to grow enough tobacco to keep up with demand.
"In terms of how many acres of tobacco we're growing for our industrial purposes," said Hartman, "we're looking to increase that number going forward."
He also says the expected demand for Tyton's jet fuel, along with the demand for Tyton's other bioenergy products, will likely grow the company and that growth could create the need to hire more employees.
Chief Technology Officer and Tyton Founder Iulian Bobe said this breakthrough could also be an incentive for high school and college students to stay here rather than go elsewhere for jobs.
"[To] provide a platform for those people that would like to stay here in this region to find engineering jobs, logistics jobs, and farming jobs," Bobe pointed out, explaining his hopes for the future of the company.
Right now, the company is in the process of partnering with companies that will test Tyton's new application for converting the oil into jet fuel. Once the application has been tested and any necessary further improvements made, Tyton will begin the process of marketing the jet fuel.
As of now, there's no timeline for when that may happen.