Media Releases

$2.5 million Biofuels Center boost for new industry sector in North Carolina (16 April 2008)

The Biofuels Center of North Carolina is giving the new biofuels sector in the state a $2.55 million jump start. Seventy-five grant and loan applications totaling almost $13 million were received on March 17, 2008 in response to the Center’s request for proposals (RFP). Biofuels Center President John Ganzi says that the large number of applications show the pent-up need for capacity building in the state to create this new industry sector. “North Carolina imports 5.6 billion gallons of liquid fuels annually,” he said. “These proposals put North Carolina on the path to reducing its dependency on foreign oil and liquid fuel imports”.

Nine people from industry, non-profits, and state agencies reviewed the applications in a competitive process and made recommendations for funding to the Biofuels Center Board. Fifteen applications totaling $2.55 million dollars were approved by the Biofuels Center Board at a meeting yesterday - 15 April, 2008.  (See end for complete list.)

Biofuels Center Board Chairman Steven Burke said at the meeting that the Biofuels Center Capacity Building Program of grants and loans was “an important step toward fulfilling North Carolina’s Strategic Plan for Biofuels Leadership”. “Seldom has a state the opportunity to create an entirely new industry sector, but sustained support will ensure North Carolina reaches its goal of growing and producing 10% of its own liquid fuels by 2017 - or about 600 million gallons,” he said.

The RFP called for applications in the following areas:

•          Innovation/Research: Supporting North Carolina-based science, development, and application of technology related to the biofuels value chain.

•          Agriculture: Renewable crops or feedstocks to meet the production needs of North Carolina’s liquid fuels usage.

•          Industrial Production: New opportunities - both technologies and installations - for the profitable production of biofuels throughout North Carolina.

•          Workforce Development: The development of a vibrant and productive workforce to support all aspects of the biofuels industry statewide.

The applications approved by the board include building a biodiesel production enhancement; converting renewable woody biomass to fuel; and, one funding biofuels laboratory equipment for workforce training.  Another is to prove the economic feasibility of renewable biomass.

Remona Callair, the Director of Finance and Administration at the Biofuels Center who managed the grants process, said that prior to the RFP deadline, the Center received hundreds of calls and emails about the program. “We had people driving to the Biofuels Center from all over the state to drop off their applications,” she said.

The Biofuels Center of North Carolina was funded by a $5 million appropriation from the 2007 General Assembly to implement North Carolina’s Strategic Plan for Biofuels Leadership. The Center celebrated its 100-day anniversary at the beginning of April 2008.

Media Enquiries:

Norman Smit, Biofuels Center Director of Marketing & Communications


Background Information about the Biofuels Center:

The Biofuels Center is charged with charting North Carolina’s path to liquid fuels energy independence. The Center is a nonprofit organization headquartered on the North Carolina Biofuels Campus in Oxford, on NC Department of Agriculture land. The Center works with a wide range of constituents, from academics and scientists, farmers and industry, to public policy makers and consumers. Its mission is to facilitate and support the development of a sustainable biofuels industry in the state. The goals of the Biofuels Center are:

•          By 2017, 10 % of liquid fuels sold in North Carolina will be grown and produced in the state.

•          Accelerate biofuels technology, science & research

•          Develop appropriate agricultural feedstocks

•          Build capacity along the value chain
•          Attract capital to the biofuels sector

•          Promote jobs and prosperity by growing the biofuels industry

•          Educate North Carolina consumers about the benefits of biofuels

A copy of the 24-page North Carolina’s Strategic Plan for Biofuels Leadership can be downloaded from the Biofuels Center website –

List of Award Winners 2007-2008 Fiscal Year:

List reflects amount requested, project title and organization requesting funding.

List is in no particular order

  • $250,000 ~ Building a Bio-Refinery ~ Piedmont Biofuels Industrial LLC
  • $197,033 ~ Development and Evaluation of reduced input planting, harvest, storage system strategies for economic production of biofuels from Industrial Sweetpotatoes ~ NCSU - SPARCS
  • $250,000 ~ Blue Ridge Biofuels Biodiesel Production Expansion Project ~ Blue Ridge Biofuels, LLC
  • $195,000 ~ Biofuels Production Laboratory Equipment Funding ~ Central Carolina Community College
  • $135,845 ~ Haywood County Biofuels PET Project ~Haywood Community College Foundation
  • $200,000 ~ The Abell Foundation Commercialization-Focused Woody Biomass Gasification Project utilizing NC Pilot Plant ~ The Abell Foundation, Inc.
  • $27,314 ~ Renewable Fuels Program ~ Washington High School
  • $22,000 ~ NC Biofuels LLC Site Development ~ North Carolina's Northeast Economic Development Foundation, Inc.
  • $200,000 ~High-Value Transportation Fuels from NC Feedstocks ~ NCSU
  • $200,000 ~Expansion of the Carbon to Liquids Development Center in Durham, NC - Enabling Development & Commercialization of New Biomass to Fuels Technologies for NC ~ Southern Research Institute
  • $138,688 ~ Developing  Dekkera bruxellensis for bio-ethanol production ~NCSU
  • $198,178 ~ Producing Ethanol from Biomass by Extracting value Prior to Combustion ~ NCSU
  • $187,700 ~ Bioenergy Plantations: technical economic study to establish feasibility of affordable, abundant, renewable biomass selected for efficient conversion to transportation fuels and power for NC ~ NCSU
  • $148,800 ~ STARworks Biofuels ~ Yadkin-PeeDee Lakes Project, Inc. dba Central Park NC
  • $199,733 ~ Growing Duckweed on Swine Wastewater for Ethanol Production ~ NCSU