USDA has announced a $99 million partnership with Chemtex to support construction of a new advanced biofuels plant in the U.S. The plant is expected to be located in Sampson County, NC, and produce 20 million gallons per year from energy crops. Construction is targeted to begin in late 2012.
“Novozymes is excited to partner with Chemtex to convert energy crops into cellulosic ethanol in North Carolina,” said Peder Holk Nielsen, Executive Vice President, Novozymes. “It is a great step forward for the U.S. biofuels industry and an endorsement of the technologies Chemtex and Novozymes have each developed. I am confident our collaboration will become a benchmark for the advanced biofuels industry in the U.S.”
“Advanced biofuels are commercializing because the Renewable Fuel Standard is working,” said Adam Monroe, President of Novozymes North America. “With public and private investment, we are adding to America’s mix of domestic energy, reducing prices for consumers and freeing us from our dependence on oil.”
Slated to open in 2014, the plant will employ approximately 65 employees and indirectly generate 250 more jobs in the community, not including construction jobs. The feedstock will be grown on low productivity/marginal land that is in part being utilized as “spray fields” for the hog farming industry.
Chemtex will use Beta Renewables’ PROESA technology to produce cost-competitive ethanol using energy grasses and agricultural waste as its feedstock. PROESA is the same technology that will be used at the world’s first commercial-scale cellulosic biofuel plant in Crescentino, Italy, expected to start operations in the fall of 2012, and also in a series of plants to be built by GraalBio in Brazil. Novozymes is the enzyme partner for the three announced ethanol plants running on PROESA (Crescentino, GraalBio and Chemtex.)
“Realizing a commercial scale cellulosic ethanol plant in the United States and proving that it can produce cost competitive sustainable ethanol is an important milestone in the commercialization process of advanced biofuels,” said Guido Ghisolfi, President of The Chemtex Group. “Our collaboration with Novozymes is an important aspect of this project and further validates what can be achieved when industry-leading players and technologies join forces. We believe that the plant can become a model for future cellulosic ethanol production in America, providing jobs and benefitting local economies and U.S. energy security.”