U.S. Senator Kay Hagan (NC) has announced EPA approval of Arundo Donax as a feedstock for producing next-generation biofuel, a move Senator Hagan has advocated for. Wilmington-based Chemtex will use Arundo Donax to make cellulosic fuel at a new biorefinery in Sampson County. When completed, this facility will create jobs and produce biofuel that will help diversify our country’s fuel supply.
“Commercial scale production of cellulosic biofuel will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create new opportunities for farmers without affecting food or feed prices,” said Hagan. “The new biorefinery is further evidence that N.C. is emerging as a leader in advanced energy technologies that are important to our national and economic security. After a regulatory review process that spanned nearly two years, I am pleased that three different federal agencies determined that Arundo Donax can be used as a feedstock without harming our state’s existing crops and plants.”
Arundo Donax generates less greenhouse gas emissions, uses less land and water than other bioenergy plants, is drought-resistant, and is able to grow even in poor soil. Unlike ethanol derived from corn, cellulosic biofuel will not impact food or feed prices.
Chemtex received federal support to construct a 20 million gallon biorefinery in Sampson County — the first commercial-scale, advanced biorefinery in the region. Using Arundo Donax as a feedstock is critical to producing cost-competitive biofuel.
“Senator Hagan understands well the drivers and benefits of advanced cellulosic biofuels and have played a pivotal leadership role, at the national level, securing opportunity for N.C. to gain major capital investment from the private sector,” said Mark Conlon, vice president Sector Development at the Biofuels Center of North Carolina. “As a result, rural North Carolina is in strong position to realize significant new economic development and lead the nation in the production of renewable cellulosic biofuels and bio-based products.”
The North Carolina Farm Bureau, North Carolina Agribusiness Council, North Carolina Pork Council, Biofuels Center of North Carolina, and North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner supported approval of Arundo Donax.