Cellulosic ethanol plant for North Carolina
Novozymes working with Chemtex and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are in a partnership for a new advanced biofuels plant in North Carolina. The plant is expected to be located in Sampson County, N.C., and produce 20 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year from “energy crops.” Construction is targeted to begin in late 2012.
“Novozymes is excited to partner with Chemtex to convert energy crops into cellulosic ethanol in North Carolina. It is a great step forward for the U.S. biofuels industry and an endorsement of the technologies Chemtex and Novozymes have each developed. I am confident our collaboration will become a benchmark for the advanced biofuels industry in the U.S.,” said Peder Holk Nielsen, executive vice president, Novozymes.
“Advanced biofuels are commercializing because the Renewable Fuel Standard is working. With public and private investment, we are adding to America’s mix of domestic energy, reducing prices for consumers and freeing us from our dependence on oil,” said Adam Monroe, president of Novozymes North America.
Slated to open in 2014, the plant will employ approximately 65 employees and indirectly generate 250 more jobs in the community, not including construction jobs. Chemtrex defined the biofuels project as being a partnership with the USDA because of a $99 million price tag with money coming from USDA and the company.
Novozymes in its news release referred to cellulosic feedstock being grown on low productivity/marginal land that is in part being utilized as “spray fields” for the hog farming industry. In general, the reference to spray fields would indicate these are fields that have been areas where liquid manure from hog confinement pits are spread. There is need for the manure nutrients to be held in the ground rather than being runoff pollutant, and year-round growth of cellulosic feedstock would use the nutrients for rapid growth of grassy feedstock where row crops cannot be grown because of the terrain.
“Chemtex will use Beta Renewables’ Proesa technology to produce cost-competitive ethanol using energy grasses and agricultural waste as its feedstock. Proesa is the same technology that will be used at the world’s first commercial-scale cellulosic biofuel 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. Novozymes is the enzyme partner for the three announced ethanol plant projects running on Proesa,” Novozyme explained in its news release.