Updates

Center CEO addresses sold-out international conference in Norway

Inspiring speakers from research communities, business, and politics shared their views and ideas on smart technology in the transition toward the green economy during the sold-out “Technoport 2012: Sharing Possibilities” conference in Trondheim, Norway. Upon the request of the Norwegian government, Biofuels Center president and CEO Steven Burke addressed the 16-18 April conference as a featured speaker.

Norway has an interest in gathering renewable energy leaders, as it seeks models for Nordic pathways to a greener economy. Burke, whose travel and expenses were funded by the Norwegian government, represented the Biofuels Center as America's only agency working comprehensively for all aspects of biofuels development.

Center supports inclusion of energy programs in Farm Bill

The Biofuels Center joined more than 100 other national, state, and regional organizations in signing a letter to congressional leaders expressing support for funding of renewable energy programs in the 2012 Farm Bill. The letter cites the growth of the biofuels and other renewable industries stating, “[T]hese important and growing industries all benefit agriculture and forestry and are poised to make huge contributions to our economic, environmental, and national security in the coming years, provided that we maintain stable policies that support clean energy manufacturing and innovation.”

In late April, the Senate Agriculture Committee began consideration of the Senate’s version of the 2012 Farm Bill. The bill under discussion authorized funding for a number of critical federal programs for the development of the biofuels industry in North Carolina and nationwide, including loan guarantees for biorefineries and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program.

The letter can be found here.

Center to showcase Accelerator, Campus at May event

Initiation of the Biofuels Company Accelerator, the Biodiesel Plant,
and North Carolina’s Biofuels Campus

Growing Renewable Biofuels: Smart Resources Support Our Vision

3 May 2012 ∙ 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
North Carolina’s Biofuels Campus ∙ Oxford

Premise

A new sector and a new technology, biofuels necessarily requires places for discovery, interaction, and assistance to new companies and projects. Newly upfitted in spaces and equipment, the Biofuels Company Accelerator provides the labs, support resources, intelligence, and connections required to move ideas and research from promise to outcome.

The Accelerator is the first project of North Carolina’s Biofuels Campus, a partnership between the Center and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS). 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 and pilot facilities, and public education.

The Campus also contains a newly constructed biodiesel plant capable of converting virgin or recycled fats and oils into 35,000 gallons per year of high-quality biodiesel. The NCDA&CS Oxford Tobacco Research Station will operate the plant to produce a significant portion of its annual diesel fuel needs, using recycled cooking oil from the North Carolina State Fair. The facility has 15,000 gallons of storage capacity in a 1,200 square-foot tank farm. In addition to being a working biodiesel plant, the facility will serve as an educational resource to farmers and the public.

For Information

Wil Glenn
Director, Communications and Public Affairs
919-693-3000 ext. 276 

Email

Center delivers biofuels feedstock presentation to legislative committee

The Biofuels Center presented to the North Carolina General Assembly’s Energy Policy Issues Committee at its March meeting. The interim legislative study committee was briefed on the possibility of growing energy grasses, such as Giant Reed, Switchgrass, and various sorghums on sprayfields adjacent to hog farms. 

Traditionally these sprayfields have been utilized as the primary means of managing swine waste from the farms. Mark Conlon, Biofuels Center vice president of sector development, provided a brief overview on the implications of continuing to manage the waste for environmental compliance, while at the same time transitioning to the growth of energy crops to create a new source of revenue for farmers. The committee also heard presentations from the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and N.C. State University on the regulatory and scientific issues related to growing energy grasses on sprayfields. 

The Energy Policy Issues Committee is charged by the legislature with studying strategies that will increase energy production and efficiency within the state to develop a secure, stable, and predictable energy supply. The committee will hold its next meeting on 18 April 2012 to begin developing legislative recommendations for the full General Assembly, which convenes in May.

 

Caption: A Biofuels Center staffer mows Switchgrass in a greenhouse on North Carolina's Biofuels Campus in Oxford.

Federal agencies announce funding opportunity for biomass research and development

In March, the U.S. Department of Energy in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $35 million in federal funding over the next three years for biomass research and development. The project is funded through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative and is intended to speed the development of advanced biofuels and biobased products.

Under the grant announcement, three technical areas will be considered and all projects must demonstrate technological advances in at least one category: feedstock development, biofuels and biobased products development, and biofuels development analysis.

Applications are due by 23 April 2012. More information on the specific requirements can be found here.