Chemtex International receives USDA loan guarantee (22 August 2012)

Clinton, N.C.—The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a loan guarantee for Chemtex International on Wednesday, 22 August, 2012. Chemtex plans to build the nation’s first commercial-scale, cellulosic biofuels facility in Sampson County. The $170-million facility, scheduled to begin production in 2014, will produce 20 million gallons of biofuels annually derived from non-food feedstocks such as Miscanthus, Switchgrass, and other biomass feedstock crops.

USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager announced a $99-million partnership with Chemtex to support construction of the plant, which is targeted to begin later this year. “Miscanthus and Switchgrass will provide Chemtex a cost-effective biomass feedstock for cellulosic ethanol production, and it will provide farmers with increased economic opportunity.” Also constructed by Chemtex, a similar facility in Crescentino, Italy, is scheduled to begin producing cellulosic biofuels early next year, and that plant is positioned to be the world’s first commercial-scale, cellulosic biofuels plant.

Chemtex executive vice president Dennis Leong looks forward to the work ahead. “Proving this plant can produce cost-competitive and sustainable cellulosic ethanol is an important step in the commercialization process of advanced biofuels … and local economies and U.S. energy security will benefit,” he said. “We expect this will create about 65 direct jobs and about 250 indirect jobs, excluding those related to the construction of the project.”

U.S. Congressman Mike McIntyre applauded the USDA announcement. “We’re looking forward to the future and not dependent on the sources of the past,” he said. McIntyre continued, “We can tell the folks up in Washington that this is the way you step toward the future—that you create jobs and energy independence, and today those two come together.”

“We have just started, but the change at hand is real,” said Steven Burke, president and CEO of the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, the nation’s only state agency working for all aspects of biofuels development. “Chemtex will build a nationally significant facility that verifies North Carolina’s commitment to renewable liquid transportation fuels. … It’s a company of good standards, unparalleled technology, international reputation, and a firm commitment to this state.”

Established and funded by the North Carolina General Assembly, the Biofuels Center of North Carolina implements the state’s strategic and policy commitment to gain large capacity for renewable liquid transportation fuels. The Center assists all involved parties in development of a new agricultural and technological sector and in meeting a long-term state goal: to replace 10 percent of the state’s liquid fuel production, up to 600 million gallons, with biofuels grown and produced internally.


Wil Glenn
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