U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced a loan guarantee to Chemtex International, Inc. to construct a 20-million gallon-per-year cellulosic ethanol refinery in eastern North Carolina. The project is the first-of-its kind commercial facility in the mid-Atlantic region. Vilsack says the facility will help create more than 300 jobs in North Carolina and is a perfect example of how producing home-grown energy is good for the economy and our energy future. The facility – once operational – is expected to convert 600-thousand tons of energy grasses into an estimated 20-million gallons of cellulosic ethanol each year using a proprietary enzymatic hydrolysis process. USDA approved a 99-million dollar, 80-percent loan guarantee to finance the project through the Rural Development Biorefinery Assistance Program. The loan guarantee approval is subject to conditions that Chemtex must meet prior to closing of the loan.
Chemtex is working with local farmers and producer organizations to begin growing energy grasses for the facility. About 30-thousand acres will be required to supply the facility with sufficient feedstock. Chemtex was awarded 3.9-million dollars earlier this year under USDA’s Biomass Crop Assistance Program to support the establishment of over four-thousand acres of miscanthus and switchgrass across 11 North Carolina counties. The feedstock will be part of the biomass supply for the Chemtex facility and the net increased revenue to local growers is projected to be 4.5-million per year.
Source: MAFB News Service