Sampson County, Biofuels Center gather farmers for energy crop opportunities

In partnership with the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, Sampson County Cooperative Extension hosted an information session on upcoming energy crop-growing opportunities for local farmers on Thursday, 26 July 2012, at the Sampson County Agri-Exposition Center in Clinton. Representatives from the biofuels company Chemtex, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Services Agency (FSA), and the Biofuels Center delivered presentations and facilitate discussion about the upcoming growing opportunities.

With plans to construct the nation’s first cellulosic biofuels facility in Sampson County, Chemtex International was recently awarded support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) to grow energy crops, including Switchgrass and Miscanthus, in Sampson and surrounding counties. The information session addressed the defined window of opportunity to take part in BCAP, as well as crop establishment budgets and revenues. Farmers and landowners were encouraged to sign up to connect with Chemtex and FSA for further supply discussions and contract negotiations.

Strengthening the capabilities statewide for biofuels commercialization is a prime task within the Biofuels Center's legislative and policy mandate, and is key to meeting the state's goal of replacing 10 percent of North Carolina's liquid transportation fuels with biofuels grown and produced within the state.

News 14 interview with Center CEO Steven Burke

News 14 Carolina conducted an interview with Center president and CEO Steven Burke about the significance of the Biofuels Accelerator and Campus launch on 1 May 2012 at their studio in Raleigh. 


A video of the interview is on News 14 Carolina's site where it can be streamed. Note, there may be a pre-roll advertisement before the interview and some B-Roll selected by News 14, such as food crops, are a poor match for illustrating North Carolina's planned use of cellulosic biomass for biofuels feedstocks.

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


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