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Chemtex International Plans To Construct Ethanol Plant in Sampson County, North Carolina

Chemtex International Inc., chemical engineering firm owned by Italy-based Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi, received a $99 million loan guarantee from the United States Department of Agriculture's Biorefinery Assistance Program for construction of its proposed $170 million ethanol plant in Sampson County, North Carolina.

Project Alpha, a project that proposes to transform hog farm grass into fuel, is expected to create approximately 65 direct and at least 250 indirect jobs. Chemtex officials said the plant is expected to be the foundation for further expansion and development of a significant "green" industry in North Carolina.

Chemtex is in discussions with North Carolina officials to build a 20 million gallon per year cellulosic ethanol facility. The process will utilize dedicated non-food energy feedstock crops, which can be grown on low-value and marginal land such as on hog farms. Because its technology enables the use of multiple types of feedstock, farmers gain flexibility in choosing which non-food crops to grow, the developer said.

Project Alpha has also received additional support from the USDA in the form of a Biomass Crop Assistance Program Award that will help farmers and property owners with start-up costs of planting new energy crops.

"Chemtex wishes to thank the USDA for their vision and their confidence in our project. Realizing a first industrial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant here in the USA and proving that it can produce cost competitive sustainable ethanol is an important milestone in the commercialization process of advanced biofuels. We believe that Project Alpha can become a model for future cellulosic ethanol production in America. Local economies and U.S. energy security will benefit," said Guido Ghisolfi, President of Chemtex and the CEO of Beta Renewables.

Chemtex and its other North Carolina based partners including; the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, Novozymes, BB&T and the pork industry, plan to work with state officials, targeting a start-up date in 2014.
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