From Addiction to… Aviation? Tobacco, an Unexpected Fuel for the Future

This creative endeavor has inspired people to see tobacco as “a viable source of energy for the future,” in the words of Robert Mills. The Virginian farmer now dedicates a portion of his land to grow biofuel tobacco every year in partnership with Tyton BioEnergy Systems, an eco-friendly power company.

Besides biofuel, research has found that tobacco has countless other applications, including deterring troublesome pests, serving as paper, and even yielding promising drugs for AIDS and cancer. These innovations take the first steps in providing society with alternative, beneficial uses for the plant, proving its boundless potential outside of smoking.

Just like Tyton’s president Peter Majeranowski said, slowly, but surely, we are “re-imagine[ing] tobacco’s place in the world.” The shift in this crop’s uses — from addiction to aviation and beyond — teaches us that even the most harmful substances can be repurposed for the better. All it takes is a little creativity for change to take off.

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