Thursday, March 1, 2012

Biofuels Center launches Business and Innovation Support Accelerator

The Biofuels Center of North Carolina, a CED Member based in Oxford, NC, has opened the Biofuels Company Accelerator to support the development of biofuels and related technology projects, researchers, and companies. A first component of North Carolina’s Biofuels Campus, in Oxford and Granville County, the facility provides leased laboratory facilities, shared equipment, and business development support from both the Center and other agencies.

Funds for upfitting eight laboratories and other spaces came from both state and federal sources. U.S. Congressman G. K. Butterfield of North Carolina’s first congressional district secured a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for the extensive refurbishing just completed.

“North Carolina is a national leader in biofuels research and innovation, and the Biofuels Center has been integral to that effort,” said U.S. Rep. Butterfield. “A targeted resource for agronomy, technology, and production development will benefit our state and eastern North Carolina specifically as we pursue our goal of driving locally grown renewable energy.”

North Carolina House Representative Jim Crawford, representing Oxford and Granville County in the North Carolina General Assembly, is direct in his pleasure. “I’ve long advocated for every possible state commitment to this new sector. The Accelerator will prove among our smartest tools, bringing innovation, jobs, and national attention to this region.”

W. Steven Burke, president and CEO of the Biofuels Center, affirms the importance of the facility. “The Accelerator enables companies to functionally merge two key requirements for biofuels: discoveries in labs and trial-growing in the adjacent Campus research plots. No other state seems to offer both capabilities in a single place contiguous to universities, an internationally known research park, and a growing number of companies.”

As North Carolina’s Biofuels Campus develops in coming years, Accelerator clients can additionally benefit from greenhouses, a pilot- and demonstration-scale production facility, and other campus projects. The Campus is a joint project of the Biofuels Center and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Established and funded by the North Carolina General Assembly, the Biofuels Center of North Carolina implements the state’s strategic and policy commitment to gain large capacity for renewable liquid transportation fuels. The Center assists all involved parties in development of a new agricultural and technological sector and in meeting a long-term state goal: to replace 10 percent of the state’s liquid fuel production, up to 600 million gallons, with biofuels grown and produced internally. The Center is the nation’s only state agency working over time for all aspects of biofuels development statewide.

Background information about the Biofuels Center of North Carolina

In 2007, the North Carolina General Assembly and other state leaders recognized that biofuels offered enormous agricultural, economic, and strategic value to the state over time and that an entire new sector must as a result be created across the landscape. Following recommendations of North Carolina's Strategic Plan for Biofuels Leadership, the General Assembly created the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, the nation's only agency working comprehensively over time for all aspects of biofuels development.

A private non-profit corporation funded permanently by the North Carolina General Assembly, the Center is charged with charting North Carolina's path over years to gain large capacity for alternatives to petroleum-based liquid fuels. The Center assists all parties statewide involved in the science, growing, production, and logistics of biofuels, and in addition addresses the educational, public information, and policy issues of a growing new sector.

The Biofuels Center is based in Oxford on North Carolina's Biofuels Campus, a partnership project with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Over the next decade, the Campus will take shape as the nation's only large-acreage site for biofuels trial-growing, company incubation and partnerships, demonstration facilities, and public education.