North Carolina funds biomass projects

By Ryan C. Christiansen
Web exclusive posted March 19, 2009, at 1:13 p.m. CST

In an effort to promote North Carolina's renewable fuels standard (RFS), the Biofuels Center of North Carolina has awarded a total of more than $580,000 to three biomass-to-liquid fuel-related projects within the state. The Biofuels Center has been tasked to implement the state's RFS, which mandates that by 2017, 10 percent of the liquid fuels sold in North Carolina should come from locally grown and produced biofuels.

The Abell Foundation was awarded $200,000 to work with energy crop research and development company Ceres Inc. and gasification technology company ThermoChem Recovery International Inc. to identify the most promising energy crops that could be grown in North Carolina for thermochemical conversion to gas and liquids. The crops will be tested for their conversion potential at ThermoChem's gasification plant in Durham, N.C.

The Research Triangle Institute in Research Triangle Park, N.C., will receive $184,891 to develop the technologies necessary to remove tars and other impurities from syngas. The syngas-cleaning component is necessary for completing a biomass-to-liquids process for converting forest thinning and other woody biomass in North Carolina into liquid transportation fuels.

North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., was awarded $199,128 to demonstrate using a torrefaction pretreatment process alongside a gasification process to produce liquid transportation fuels from woody biomass.