Big investment made in local bio-fuels

out biofuelsA consortium of Western North Carolina public agencies and private organizations will receive a grant of $766,000 from the N.C. Bio-fuels Center, to advance the bio-fuels industry in the region.

Those involved in the project hope the grant will increased bio-fuels production by as much as 5.2 million gallons per year by 2017 and create jobs in the process, promote sustainability and advance entrepreneurship.

“It is an opportunity to improve our region’s energy security and air quality while simultaneously building a new agricultural sector to help support our farmers,” said Woodrow Eaton of Blue Ridge Befouls in Asheville.

The grant is money the state won in an air pollution lawsuit against the Tennessee Valley Authority for its dirty coal plants, funds that were earmarked for air quality.

Those receiving the grant will make a 50 percent match in the form of in-kind services and financial contributions for a total investment of more than $1.1 million in bio-fuels.

The project will increase bio-fuels production and use in WNC through:

• recycling spent micro-brewery grains for biofuel production.

• recruiting more farmers to grow raw materials used for biofuel production.

• establishing a new bio-fuels testing lab.

• investigating a bio-fuels and bio-products industrial park.

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