Prev : Next The Biofuels Center of North Carolina
Strategic plan for a new industry in North Carolina
Ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Biofuels Center
The Biofuels Center of North Carolina begins operations as the nation’s only comprehensive biofuel development agency. Headquartered on North Carolina’s Biofuels Campus, the Center is charged with choreographing a statewide effort to replace 10 percent of the state’s liquid fuels with locally-grown and produced biofuels by 2017. According to W. Steven Burke, current president and CEO, the Center made a conscious decision not to base their emerging industry on corn: “It should be noted that North Carolina’s Strategic Plan for Biofuels Leadership…affirms that the state’s biofuels industry will not be based on corn. Instead, it will be biomass-based, and the primary feedstocks for biofuels in the state…will be woody biomass and energy grasses.”
To determine the best variety of energy grasses, the Center plants seven varieties of energy grasses, including miscanthus, switchgrass, sweet and grain sorghum, on twenty sites around the state. The best energy grasses will be the ones that grow abundantly in North Carolina soils and are lucrative for farmers. “We want to look for crops that will provide farmers with income” says Norman Smit, director of communications and education for the Center. Beyond agricultural research and economic incentives, the Center also undertakes a public education campaign to educate, train, and inform citizens about the science and promise of biomass-derived biofuels.