Biochemtex invests millions in North Carolina cellulosic biofuels facility

Global technology provider of specialised biofuels and renewable chemicals, Biochemtex, is to invest around $200 million (€147 million) in its new cellulosic biofuels plant in Sampson County, North Carolina, US.

The firm will operate at the location as Carolina Cellulosic Biofuels, established in early 2013 as a special purpose vehicle for delivering the first commercial-scale cellulosic biorefinery utilising purpose-grown energy crops in North America.

The plant will produce 20 million gallons per year of cellulosic biofuel from locally-grown energy crops, agricultural residues, and woody biomass.

'Biochemtex is excited to bring our PROESA technology platform and our partners to eastern North Carolina,' said Guido Ghisolfi, CEO and owner of Biochemtex. 'We've already engaged with regional farms and farmers for the supply of energy crops and we see great opportunity for growth and additional projects where regional infrastructure matches need.'

The project was awarded a performance-based grant of up to $300,000 from the One North Carolina Fund. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance, through local governments, to attract business projects that will stimulate economic activity and create new jobs in the state. Companies receive no money up front and must meet job creation and investment performance standards to qualify for grant funds. These grants also require and are contingent upon local matches.

Chemtex previously announced the signing of a long-term agreement with Murphy-Brown, of Warsaw, NC, to grow a number of biofuel crops on about 6,000 acres owned or controlled by Murphy-Brown. The crops, grown on acreage not typically used for grain production, would represent the 'backbone of the supply chain' for the biofuels plant, Chemtex officials said at the time.

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