GREENSBORO, N.C. - USDA recently announced it will guarantee a loan to support the creation of a commercial cellulosic ethanol refinery in Sampson County, N.C., in an effort to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, create jobs and increase farm income. One of the chosen energy crops for conversion in the facility is Freedom® giant miscanthus, of which N.C.-based REPREVE® Renewables is the exclusive supplier. The crop is one of the highest-yielding biomass crops available, and can be grown on marginal, low-yield soil, making it ideal and cost-effective for this type of refinery.
Freedom® giant miscanthus will be grown on local area farmlands and converted into the renewable fuel ethanol. N.C. farmers have a significant opportunity to become a part of the project, as a USDA Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) project area has been created for the refinery in the surrounding 11 counties. Under BCAP, growers are provided with start-up cost assistance and annual payments for participating. Sign-ups for BCAP end September 14, 2012. The refinery is being hailed by officials as potentially the first of many of its kind using a new cash crop with an international market, and N.C. as a primary producer.
This venture is unlike previous experimental projects, as the ethanol refinery has a federal government guarantee for financing the project. USDA recently announced its guarantee of $99 million in loans to Chemtex, the international engineering company behind the refinery. Furthermore, the project is projected to increase farm income, with the net increased revenue to local growers estimated to be $4.5 million per year. Roughly 30,000 acres are needed for growing.
The refinery comes at a good time for N.C., where high unemployment is common in rural areas. The project is expected to create 65 direct jobs and 250 indirect jobs in N.C. Furthermore, it will be the first of its kind in the U.S. and is seen as a huge step and significant opportunity for rural development and renewable fuels.
About REPREVE® Renewables:
REPREVE® Renewables LLC, headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, is an innovator in the quest to bring workable solutions for renewable energy to market. The Company participates in the research and commercialization of viable non-food biomass solutions for renewable energy, thus decreasing U.S. dependency on foreign oil. REPREVE® Renewables has the exclusive license from Mississippi State University to commercialize Freedom® giant miscanthus, a bioenergy crop from which electricity and fuel can be produced effectively and efficiently. For more information about REPREVE® Renewables, visit www.repreverenewables.com or www.freedomgiantmiscanthus.com. For more on the BCAP project area, visit www.NCBiomass.com.