Media Releases

US Ag Secretary Vilsack to visit Biofuels Center and address event

OXFORD, 3 May 2012 —U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will visit the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, at 2:00 p.m. on 3 May 2012.  After meeting with state leaders about the agricultural and policy requirements of renewable transportation fuels, he will address the event, Growing Renewable Biofuels: Smart Resources Support Our Vision. His visit affirms North Carolina’s state policy, targeted approach, and growing national presence for biofuels development.  Last year before a speech in North Carolina, Vilsack affirmed that the state is in the “sweet spot” for biofuels. “There’s great potential for North Carolina given its soil and crops, livestock waste, wooded areas, favorable climate, and manufacturing base,” he said.

Growing Renewable Biofuels: Smart Resources Support Our Vision will bring speakers and state biofuels leaders together around three significant resources, all in Oxford and described in more detail below: initiation of the Master Plan for North Carolina’s Biofuels Campus, opening of the Biofuels Company Accelerator, and start-up of the Oxford Biodiesel Plant. 

Speakers at the event will represent North Carolina’s commitment to gain large capacity for renewable liquid transportation fuels:

  • Secretary Vilsack
  • Congressman G.K. Butterfield, First Congressional District
  • Representative Jim Crawford, North Carolina General Assembly
  • Adam Monroe, President, Novozymes North America
  • Richard Reich, Ph.D, Assistant Commissioner, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
  • W. Steven Burke, President and CEO, Biofuels Center of North Carolina

The event will be followed by a press briefing with Secretary Vilsack, Congressman Butterfield, and Steven Burke. Event guests will have the opportunity to tour the facilities, visit trial-growing feedstock plots, and be briefed on the Campus Master Plan.

“North Carolina is a national leader in biofuels research and innovation, and the Biofuels Center has been integral to that effort,” said U.S. Rep. Butterfield. “A targeted resource for agronomy, technology, and production development will benefit our state and eastern North Carolina specifically as we pursue our goal of driving locally grown renewable energy.”

North Carolina House Representative Jim Crawford, representing Oxford and Granville County in the North Carolina General Assembly, is direct in his pleasure. “I’ve long advocated for every possible state commitment to this new sector. The Campus and Accelerator will prove among our smartest tools, bringing innovation, jobs, and national attention to this region.”

W. Steven Burke, president and CEO of the Biofuels Center, said that Vilsack’s visit affirms North Carolina’s growing presence within America’s biofuels sector. “Secretary Vilsack works for the targeted approaches and new models necessary if the nation is to meet its forward-thinking biofuels goals. North Carolina has merged state policy, a nationally unique Biofuels Center, exceptional agricultural and industry resources, and an unparalleled Campus to craft such a model.”

The Growing Renewable Biofuels: Smart Resources Support Our Vision event will note initiation and opening of three strong biofuels resources:

North Carolina's Biofuels Campus

Joint project of the Biofuels Center and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Campus is the nation’s only committed large-acreage site for biofuels trial-growing, company projects, demonstration and pilot facilities, and public education. A recently completed Master Plan charts a decade-long course to bring biofuels development, companies, and employment to the 426-acre site.

Biofuels Company Accelerator

Located on the second floor of the Center’s headquarters building, the Biofuels Company Accelerator provides leased laboratory facilities, shared equipment, and business development support from both the Center and other agencies. Funds for upfitting eight laboratories and other spaces came from both state and federal sources. U.S. Congressman G. K. Butterfield of North Carolina’s first congressional district secured a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for the extensive refurbishing just completed.

Oxford Biodiesel Plant

Triggered by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the small-scale, non-commercial plant can produce up to 35,000 gallons of biodiesel a year. Among first outputs will be fuel for state agricultural vehicles made from cooking grease from the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh.

Background information about the Biofuels Center of North Carolina

In 2007, the North Carolina General Assembly and other state leaders recognized that biofuels offered enormous agricultural, economic, and strategic value to the state over time and that an entire new sector must as a result be created across the landscape. Following recommendations of North Carolina's Strategic Plan for Biofuels Leadership, the General Assembly created the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, the nation's only agency working comprehensively over time for all aspects of biofuels development.

A private non-profit corporation funded permanently by the North Carolina General Assembly, the Center is charged with charting North Carolina's path over years to gain large capacity for alternatives to petroleum-based liquid fuels. The Center assists all parties statewide involved in the science, growing, production, and logistics of biofuels, and in addition addresses the educational, public information, and policy issues of a growing new sector.

The Biofuels Center is based in Oxford on North Carolina's Biofuels Campus, a partnership project with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Over the next decade, the Campus will take shape as the nation's only large-acreage site for biofuels trial-growing, company incubation and partnerships, demonstration facilities, and public education.

For information contact:

Wil Glenn
Director, Communications and Public Affairs
919-693-3000 ext. 276
919-339-0307 – mobile
email Wil Glenn