Chemtex, Murphy-Brown sign biomass supply agreement

By Chemtex International Inc. | July 17, 2013

Chemtex International Inc. of Wilmington, N.C.,  and Murphy-Brown LLC of Warsaw, N.C., have signed a long-term agreement for the supply of purpose grown energy crops and residues to be used as cellulosic feedstock in Project Alpha, Chemtex’s cellulosic ethanol facility planned for Clinton, N.C.

The agreement covers a number of feedstocks to be grown on approximately 6,000 acres of land owned or controlled by Murphy-Brown. The proposed crops will be grown on acreage that is not typically used for grain production and will represent the backbone of the supply chain for the planned Chemtex biorefinery. Final execution of the agreement is contingent upon achieving financial closure for the project.

“We are excited to be working with Chemtex to bring cellulosic ethanol to eastern North Carolina,” said Don Butler, vice president of government relations and public affairs with Murphy-Brown. “The production of these feedstocks will be a natural complement to livestock production in the state and will bring new opportunities for farmers large and small. This project will demonstrate to policymakers that their focus should be on encouraging these American-made next-generation biofuels that are produced without consuming foodstuffs.”

Although the agreement represents a substantial portion of the feedstock required to operate the facility, additional acreage will be contracted in the coming months. “It’s a privilege to be working with Murphy-Brown and is representative of the support we have received in North Carolina. It’s a great first step in filling out our supply needs and we are looking forward to contracting with additional farmers in the area,” said Matt Harrod, director of supply chain development for Chemtex.

A significant part of the supply chain will be met through the use of new cellulosic ethanol feedstocks recently approved by the U.S. EPA.  Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Reps. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., and Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., were instrumental in getting the administration to work with the federal resource agencies on establishing a pathway for their approval.

Project Alpha will produce 20 million gallons of environmentally friendlier cellulosic ethanol annually using Beta Renewables’ market leading Proesa Technology.  It is expected to create approximately 65 direct and at least 250 indirect jobs excluding those relating to the construction of the plant and is expected to be the foundation for the further expansion and development a significant “green” industry in North Carolina.