Media Releases

Biofuels Center boosts renewable fuels industry in western NC with $600K investment (4 April 2013)

OXFORD, N.C.—The Biofuels Center of North Carolina recently awarded $684,058 for six projects to accelerate the renewable fuels industry in western North Carolina. Awards are made through the 2012-2013 targeted biofuels development funding program, entitled Catalyzing Production in Western North Carolina, which utilizes a portion of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) settlement funds directed to the Center by the North Carolina General Assembly in the 2012 legislative session.

Biofuels Center president and CEO Steven Burke affirmed the value of strengthening the biofuels sector in the western region. “There is large potential for biofuels crop-growing and production in western North Carolina,” he said. “We expect the region’s wood and crop resources, growing public and private participants, and strong commitment to contribute to the development of the biofuels sector across North Carolina in coming years.”

Each awarded project below will benefit one or more of the following counties: Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Davie, Gaston, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Iredell, Jackson, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Surry, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes, Yadkin, and Yancey.

  • $156,898 (North Carolina State University) ∙ Populus Trials for Biofuels Production in Western North Carolina; This project will determine the capacity for short-rotation woody crops  to produce cellulosic feedstocks in different climates and soils in North Carolina.
  • $143,787 (North Carolina State University) ∙ On-farm Evaluation of Perennial Biofuel Crops in WNC; Thisproject will educate farmers and Cooperative Extension agents through demonstrating the best economic and agronomic data for energy grasses.
  • $125,375 (Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center) ∙ Cold-hardy Sugarcanes for Western North Carolina; Thisproject will develop high-yield hybrids that can be established with vegetative propagation.

  • $124,628 (Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center) ∙ Reinventing Giant Miscanthus; Thisproject will develop high-yield hybrids that can be established with vegetative propagation.

  • $67,648 (Carolina Land & Lakes RC&D) ∙ Feasibility Study of WNC Feedstock Depot; Thisproject will assess the economics of a feedstock depot to serve current industries and the biofuels industry in western North Carolina.

  • $65,722 (Appalachian State University) ∙ Investigating the Economic Viability of a Municipal Solid Waste-to-Biofuels Facility in Western North Carolina; Thisproject will assess the economic viability of using municipal solid waste generated in the 32 counties of western North Carolina.

Awards were determined through a competitive, peer-review process. Expert panels comprised of industry, nonprofits, and state agency representatives reviewed applications and made funding recommendations for approval on 2 April 2013 by the Biofuels Center Executive Committee.


The Biofuels Center awarded $1,070,599 to western North Carolina partners as part of its 2012-2013 grants program, Strengthening Feedstocks, Production, and Products in Western North Carolina, on 16 January 2013.

Strengthening and funding capabilities statewide for biofuels production is a prime task of the Biofuels Center, a private nonprofit corporation established by the North Carolina General Assembly to develop large capacity for biofuels statewide in coming years. The Center, located on North Carolina’s Biofuels Campus in Oxford, implements sustained state policy, assists companies and all parties within the biofuels community, and works to meet North Carolina’s goal: By 2017, 10 percent of the state’s liquid transportation fuels will come from biofuels grown and produced within the state.

For more information, contact:

Wil Glenn
Director, Communications and Public Affairs
O: 919.693.3000 ext. 276
C: 919.339.0307
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