Tuesday, August 9, 2011

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr visits Chemtex world headquarters near Wrightsville Beach.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster

by Michelle Saxton 
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Lumina News

A global engineering company with headquarters on Eastwood Road in Wilmington is working on a new technology that could be a breakthrough in the alternative fuels business, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr has said.

Burr was in New Hanover County on Tuesday, Aug. 9, meeting with officials of Chemtex and representatives of the Biofuels Center of North Carolina to learn more about a platform that will allow them to partner with enzyme companies like Novozymes to bring competitively priced ethanol and biomass products to the marketplace. 

“For North Carolina that means another leading technology and green energy,” Burr, R-N.C., said, adding that more competitively priced ethanol products would take pressure off Midwest corn demand that drives up the livestock feed cost of North Carolina’s massive hog, chicken and poultry industry. “It has a leveraging impact on our economy here in North Carolina, all because of one technology that emanates from a headquarters here,” Burr said.

Chemtex holds its United States headquarters in Wilmington and has other worldwide operations in Italy, China and India, according to its website, www.chemtex.com. Such new technology is in production in Europe as a demonstration project, Burr said, adding there are high hopes of possibly looking at North Carolina and other southeastern states for producing ethanol and using land that currently is not valued high in the agricultural industry, such as spray field land for hog lagoons.

“For any agricultural area that is used for hay, for grazing, the fact that you could plant multiple crops, harvest those crops and feed them into a system that produces fuel means that you could get three, four times the amount of income off of that acre of property,” Burr said. “That’s a drastic change to the agricultural community.”
“It really propels North Carolina into the fastest growing area of the agricultural industry,” he added.
Biofuels experts in North Carolina were working to identify the best feedstock for their production, Burr said, noting that all of that feedstock can be grown aggressively in the state.

Burr said he and other members of Congress have an opportunity to hear from people willing to produce alternative fuels and not ask for subsidies. 

“I think we could with great confidence let the subsidy on corn ethanol fall by the wayside, which would have an immediate impact on livestock feed costs, but without any reduction in the amount of volume that we could get in ethanol in the marketplace,” Burr said. 

“The direct effect that the consumers would feel is that they would experience a reduction in the cost of gasoline with ethanol because the subsidy is not there, and we’re injecting into the system a much more competitive fuel,” the U.S. Senator concluded.