RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A long-anticipated $200 million ethanol plant that will turn grasses grown on North Carolina hog farms into motor fuel will go ahead, Gov. Pat McCrory's office said Monday.
The plant operated by Biochemtex, a partnership headed by Italy-based Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi, plans to employ 65 people in three years near Clinton in Sampson County. The jobs will pay an average of $47,000 a year plus benefits, above the county average of $30,822.
The company was offered state and local government incentives worth $6.3 million over six years, a state Commerce Department spokeswoman said.
The U.S. Agriculture Department last year approved a loan guarantee worth $99 million for the project, backing a larger bank loan. The biofuel refinery was the ninth to get USDA support as the Obama administration spurs the development of plant-based ethanol from plants other than corn. Other ethanol plants around the country were expected to use farm-field leftovers such as wheat straw, low-value trees, municipal solid waste and algae.
Biochemtex's North Carolina plant is projected to produce 20 million gallons per year of ethanol from locally grown energy crops, agricultural residues, and woody biomass. The plant imitates the world's first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant, which the company opened in northwestern Italy.