Chemtex builds biorefinery
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Chemtex builds biorefinery

24.08.2012 - The US government will support Novozymes's partner Chemtex Inc. in its aim to construct a cellulosic ethanol plant in North Carolina by backing a US$99m loan.

The plant is expected to be located in Sampson County, North Carolina and produce 20 million gallons (76 million liters) of bioethanol per year from up to 600,000 tons of non-food grasses. The enzymes necessary for processing the biomass will be provided by Danish biotech company Novozymes (Baegsvaard). The construction is set to begin in late 2012. “Realising 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 commercialisation process of advanced biofuels,” said Guido Ghisolfi, President of the Chemtex Group, which is a unit of the Italian chemical company Grupo Mossi & Ghisolfi. 

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 utilised as “spray fields” for the hog farming industry. Wilmington, North Carolina-based Chemtex received US$3.9m from the US Department of Agriculture in June to grow more than 4,000 acres of miscanthus and switchgrass, which will now be used as feedstock. Chemtex and Novozymes have already started a collaboration this April aimed at building the world’s first industrial plant for fermentation of second generation bioethanol from cheap straw feeds.


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