Advanced biofuel feedstocks targeted in N.C. research awards
The Biofuels Center of North Carolina recently awarded $684,000 for six projects to accelerate the renewable fuels industry in western North Carolina.
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.”
Awards were determined through a competitive, peer-reviewed process involving industry, nonprofits and state agency representatives. Projects include:
- $156,898 to North Carolina State University to trial tree crops to determine the capacity for short-rotation woody crops to produce cellulosic feedstocks in different climates and soils in North Carolina.
- $143,787 to North Carolina State University for on-farm evaluation of perennial biofuel crops to educate farmers and cooperative extension agents through demonstrating the best economic and agronomic data for energy grasses.
- $125,375 to Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center to develop high-yield hybrids of cold-hardy sugarcanes that can be established with vegetative propagation.
- $124,628 to Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center to develop high-yield hybrids of giant miscanthus that can be established with vegetative propagation.
- $67,648 to Carolina Land & Lakes RC&D for a feasibility study to assess the economics of a feedstock depot to serve current industries and the biofuels industry in western North Carolina.
- $65,722 to Appalachian State University to assess the economic viability of using municipal solid waste generated in the 32 counties of western North Carolina in a MSW-to-biofuels facility.
Funding was awarded through the biofuels development funding program entitled “Catalyzing Production in Western North Carolina” which uses a portion of the Tennessee Valley Authority settlement funds directed to the Biofuels Center in the state’s 2012 legislative session. Strengthening and funding capabilities statewide for biofuels production is a prime task of the Biofuels Center, a private nonprofit corporation established by the legislature to develop statewide biofuels capacity with a goal of 10 percent of the state’s liquid transportation fuels coming from biofuels grown and produced within the state by 2017.