North Carolina on Mission to Build Biofuel Industry, Company Sees Ethanol Coming from Grassy Fields
by Emery P. Dalesio (The Republic/AP) An Italian company’s Wilmington-based subsidiary is geared up to build a factory that can convert grassy plants into fuel for cars and trucks amid Sampson County’s hog and turkey growers.
With financial and verbal encouragement from local, state and federal governments, the company has picked a site that takes advantage of the smelly concentration of industrial-scale hog farming operations. The idea is it can get a relatively cheap, abundant supply as hog farmers grow fuel plants on land used to absorb the dirty but nutrient-rich water from their waste-holding lagoons.
…The Biofuels Center of North Carolina has produced economic estimates that project profits for both ethanol-maker Chemtex and pork producers in Duplin, Sampson and Wayne counties now using nearly 100,000 acres as sprayfields.
…Chemtex hopes to “take some pretty marginal land, land that’s not producing major value to farmers, like sprayfield land. We see that as an opportunity,” project manager Allana Whitney said.
The ethanol plant is waiting for the U.S. Agriculture Department to approve a loan guarantee.
…Chemtex is looking to imitate the world’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant, which its parent company Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi expects to open soon in northwestern Italy. READ MORE