Pittsboro, NC: On Friday, June 22, 2012, beginning at 3:00 p.m. Piedmont Biofuels will cut the ribbon on the first biodiesel plant capable of creating renewable fuel using enzymatic catalysis.
Politicians, scientists, regulators, government officials, biodiesel producers and consumers from across the United States and Canada will be attending the event.
Biodiesel is a clean burning renewable fuel derived from fats, oils and greases. Traditionally dependent on virgin plant oils, animal fats, or waste cooking oil, the biodiesel industry has been technically limited to high quality feedstocks.
Piedmont’s enzyme-based process technology, named the FAeSTER process opens the door to a world of new feedstocks which have not typically been available for biodiesel fuel production.
North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan will be speaking at the event and touring the new facility. The construction of this plant was made possible by a $1.2 million dollar United States Department Of Energy Small Business Innovation and Research grant over a period of three years. Senator Hagan is a long-time supporter of the project advocating for Piedmont Biofuels throughout each stage of funding.
“Piedmont Biofuels embodies the kinds of new jobs in the green collar economy,” said Lyle Estill, Piedmont’s president. “We’ve been calling for an ‘energy regime change’ since 2002,” Estill said, “and our enzymatic catalysis is one more step in that direction.”
In addition to Senator Hagan, Mr. Joe Jobe from the National Biodiesel Board, Mr. Larry Shirley of the NC Department of Commerce, and Mr. Steven Burke, CEO of the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, along with a representative from Novozymes, a North Carolina manufacturer of enzymes used in Piedmont’s new process.
“North Carolina realistically presumes growing presence on the national biofuels landscape,” said Steven Burke. “Piedmont Biofuels shows well the sort of technological, entrepreneurial, and responsible leadership increasing state capabilities and decreasing total reliance on fuels from other places.”
Years of research and small-scale piloting has led Piedmont to the completion of a commercial scale facility which is adjunct to its current Pittsboro operations. Funding for the project has come from private investment, from the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, from Novozymes, and from the Department of Energy.
“This has been a unique collaborative effort between small business, state and federal organ,” said Rachel Burton, Director of Piedmont’s Research and Analytics Department. “We believe that this technology will shift the industry to cleaner, more efficient means of production for today’s advanced diesel engines,” Burton said. In 2011, Burton was named Biodiesel Researcher of the Year by the National Biodiesel Board for her team’s groundbreaking work on enzymatic catalysis. Upon commissioning this enzymatic plant, Piedmont hopes to partner with other agencies interested in making the move to enzyme based biodiesel production
Piedmont Biofuels operates North Carolina’s premier commercial biodiesel production plant since 2006. They are leaders in sustainable biodiesel production, research, and technology development, headquartered in North Carolina. Piedmont is committed to its mission to lead the sustainability effort through the development and production of clean, renewable fuels.
Contact: Rachel Burton
220 Lorax Lane #1
Pittsboro, NC 27312