On May 3, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack visited the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, according to a Biofuels Center press release. After meeting with state leaders about the agricultural and policy requirements of renewable transportation fuels, Secretary Vilsack addressed the event, Growing Renewable Biofuels: Smart Resources Support Our Vision.
Last year, Secretary Vilsack affirmed that North Carolina was in the “sweet spot” for biofuels. “There’s great potential for North Carolina given its soil and crops, livestock waste, wooded areas, favorable climate, and manufacturing base,” he said at the time. This year’s visit affirms the state’s state policy, targeted approach, and growing national presence for biofuels development.
L–R: USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Biofuels Center President and CEO, W. Steven Burke, May 2012. Photo courtesy of Biofuels Center.
Growing Renewable Biofuels: Smart Resources Support Our Vision brought speakers and state biofuels leaders together around three significant state resources located in Oxford:
- Initiation of the Master Plan for North Carolina’s Biofuels Campus,
- Opening of the Biofuels Company Accelerator, and
- Start-up of the Oxford Biodiesel Plant.
The Biofuels Company Accelerator was recently highlighted in Site Selection magazine’s March 2012 Energy Report. The first component of the N.C. Biofuels Campus, the accelerator opened in February 2012. The facility includes leased laboratory facilities, shared equipment and business development support from both the Biofuels Center as well as other agencies.
W. Steven Burke, president and CEO of the Biofuels Center, said that Secretary Vilsack’s visit affirms North Carolina’s growing presence within America’s biofuels sector. “Secretary Vilsack works for the targeted approaches and new models necessary if the nation is to meet its forward-thinking biofuels goals. North Carolina has merged state policy, a nationally unique Biofuels Center, exceptional agricultural and industry resources, and an unparalleled Campus to craft such a model.”
In addition to Secretary Vilsack, other speakers at the event included Congressman G.K. Butterfield, First Congressional District; Representative Jim Crawford, N.C. General Assembly; Adam Monroe, President, Novozymes North America; Richard Reich, PhD, Assistant Commissioner, N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; and W. Steven Burke, President and CEO, Biofuels Center of North Carolina.
With enormous wood resources and a strong wood products industry, N.C. has ample wood waste to co-fire or run large power plants and boilers, while also contributing to the next generation of cellulosic biofuels. In addition, the state currently ranks as a top producer of hogs, chickens and turkeys. Agricultural waste residues are increasingly being targeted for conversion to electricity, methane gas and biofuels, positioning N.C. to be a regional leader in the use of biomass resources.
Read the Biofuels Center press release.
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