Media Releases

$2.77 million boost from Biofuels Center for new sector (11 March 2009 - TWO)

OXFORD – The Biofuels Center of North Carolina is giving the emerging biofuels sector in the state a $2.77 million jolt.  The Center received 49 grant applications totaling almost $7.2 million in requests for funding on 15 January 2008 in response to the Center’s request for proposals (RFP).  The Center, which is tasked by the General Assembly with developing a biofuels sector in North Carolina, sets aside more than half its annual budget for grants to accelerate the technologies and feedstocks needed for a statewide biofuels industry to be successful.  This grant cycle was narrowly focused on connecting feedstocks with conversion technologies.

Panels of experts from industry, non-profits, and state agencies reviewed the applications in a competitive process and made funding recommendations to the Biofuels Center Board of Directors. Eighteen grants were approved by the Board yesterday (10 March 2009). Scroll down for the complete list.

Biofuels Center President Steven Burke said this grant cycle will advance North Carolina’s new industry sector. “The Midwest has corn and Brazil has sugarcane. North Carolina needs to develop conversion technologies for the types of crops and trees the state has in plenty so that we are able to turn this biomass into viable, advanced biofuels,” he said.  “This funding puts North Carolina on the path toward reducing its dependency on foreign oil and liquid fuel imports while putting money back into our state’s economy”.   Burke said, “Seldom has a state the opportunity to create an entirely new industry sector, but sustained support over time will ensure North Carolina reaches its goal of growing and producing 10% of its own liquid fuels by 2017 - or about 600 million gallons”.

This year’s grants RFP targeted specific priorities to best position the state to meet its 2017 goal. The RFP sought applications in the following areas:

  • Growing & Feedstocks:  Identifying and developing  cost-effective feedstocks for biofuels production by comparison to traditional agricultural practices
  • Production:     (1) Biodiesel production processes that use low-cost feedstocks, and, (2) Fuel alcohol and other transportation fuels using alternative feedstocks for first- and second-generation biofuels
  • Support projects:  Projects  accelerating key areas of industry development and meet a unique opportunity or serve as a model that could be replicated around the state

List of Award Winners 2008-2009 Fiscal Year:


  • $171,293  /  Energy Canes: Ideal Fuelstocks for NC’s Diverse Energy Needs  /  North Carolina State University Mountain Horticulture Crops  /  Mills River
  • $108,800  /  Algae Downstream Processes Automated for Commercialization  /  Cape Fear Resource Conservation & Development, Inc.  /  Wilmington
  • $129,133 /  Extraction and Refinement of Oils from Biodiesel Feedstocks  /  Appalachian State University  /  Boone
  • $194,375  /  Canola Production, Processing, and Market Development for Biodiesel  /  North Carolina Solar Center  /  Raleigh


  • $180,496  /  Reducing Natural Resource Impacts Related to Biodiesel Production  /  Carolina Land & Lakes RC&D, Inc.  /  Newton
  • $200,000  /  Optimal NC Energy Crop Gasification Project  /  The Abell Foundation, Inc.  /  Durham
  • $183,802  /  Low Cost Conversion of Industrial Sludges to Ethanol  /  North Carolina State University  /  Raleigh
  • $150,295  /  Fungal Biopulping for Improved Ethanol Production from Low-cost Woody Feedstocks  /  University of North Carolina – Charlotte  /  Charlotte
  • $184,891  /  Biomass Gasification Tar Cracking Catalyst Development for Biofuels Synthesis  /  RTI International  /  Research Triangle Park
  • $197,055  /  Enzymatic Processing of Biodiesel  /  Chatham County Economic Development Corporation  /  Pittsboro
  • $99,850  /  Greater Charlotte Region Biofuel Facility  /  Centralina Council of Governments  /  Charlotte
  • $198,385  /  Biodiesel Pilot Plant Demonstration & Outreach Program  /  North Carolina Solar Center  /  Raleigh

Growing & Production

  • $35,415  /  Biodiesel Feedstock Research  /  North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services: Division of Research Stations  /  Oxford
  • $183,468  /  Optimizing Cultivation and Conversion Parameters for Efficient Sweet Sorghum Bioethanol  /  North Carolina State University  /  Raleigh
  • $199,128  /  Integrated Low-Cost Torrefaction-Gasification for Production of Biofuels from Forest Resources  /  North Carolina State University  /  Raleigh
  • $162,438  /  Economic Analysis of Pine Biomass Feedstocks for Ethanol Production  /  North Carolina State University  /  Raleigh
  • $150,000  /  Feedstock Processing Station  /  Catawba County  /  Newton


  • $49,097  /  From Farms to Fuels: Renewable Energy Production  /  Craven County Schools  /  New Bern

Summaries of all of these grants are posted to the website here:

Background Information about the Biofuels Center:

In 2007, the North Carolina General Assembly had the foresight and vision to create the Biofuels Center so that the state's farmers, forestry industry, biofuels manufacturers, biofuels workers and consumers will benefit from this new multimillion dollar home-grown industry.

The Biofuels Center is charged with charting North Carolina’s path toward liquid fuels energy independence. The Center works with a wide range of constituents, from academics and scientists, farmers and industry, the forestry sector, to public policy makers and consumers.  Its mission is to facilitate and support the development of a sustainable biofuels industry in the state.  The Center is a state-funded, private, not-for-profit. 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 and 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

The Biofuels Center is based in Oxford, on the North Carolina Biofuels Campus. The campus was established by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture as part of its commitment to biofuels development.  The Biofuels Center’s location is close to the state’s biotechnology heartland while still being within earshot of tractors in fields.

For information contact:
Norman Smit
Director of Communications & Education
919-693-3000 ext 262
919-339-3509 – mobile
nsmit (at) biofuelscenter (dot) org