Chemtex Lands $99M USDA Loan Guarantee for North Carolina Cellulosic Biofuels Project
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) In North Carolina, Chemtex announced that it has received a $99 million conditional loan guarantee from USDA, under the USDA’s 9003 Biorefinery Assistance Program for the engineering and construction of “Project Alpha.”
Chemtex is in discussions with the State of North Carolina to locate Project Alpha, a 20 million gallon per year cellulosic ethanol facility, in the Sampson County area, with a projected start-up date in 2014. Project Alpha is planning to use dedicated non-food energy feedstock crops, which can be grown on low-value and marginal land such as hog lagoon sprayfields.
Branch Banking & Trust (“BB&T”) will be the Lender of Record for the Project – and the Stern Brothers Group have been acting as investment bankers for the deal. The USDA’s loan guarantee approval is subject to conditions that Chemtex must meet prior to closing of the loan.
Processing technology Chemtex will use Beta Renewables’ PROESA technology to produce cost-competitive ethanol using non-food biomass as its feedstock. This is the same technology that will be used at the world’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Crescentino, Italy, expected to start operations in the fall of 2012, and also in a series of plants to be built by GraalBio in Brazil.
… In partnership with the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, Chemtex has identified nearby farmland that is currently growing Coastal Bermuda grass to manage swine lagoon effluent. Conversion from Coastal Bermuda to high yielding energy grasses, including miscanthus and switchgrass, will provide Chemtex a cost effective biomass feedstock for cellulosic ethanol production and area swine farmers with increased economic opportunity as well as the land stewardship benefits of enhanced effluent management. READ MORE and MORE (USDA) and MORE (Biofuels Center of North Carolina) and MORE (Ethanol Producer Magazine) and MORE (AgProfessional)