US-based chemical engineering company Chemtex has secured approval from US Environmental Protection Agency to use Arundo donax, also known as cane grass, to produce next-generation biofuel.
With this approval, the company intends to grow Arundo donax in the coastal plain after thr US Department of Agriculture committed credit facility of $99m for company’s proposed bio-refinery, Project Alpha earlier in August 2012, reported wilmingtonbiz.com.
United States North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan was quoted by the website as saying that the commercial scale production of bio-fuel would make the country less dependent on oil imports from foreign countries, besides it will also create new opportunities for farmers without affecting food or feed prices.
"The new biorefinery is also further evidence that North Carolina is emerging as a leader in advanced energy technologies that are important to our national and economic security," added Hagan.
Chemtex stated that the company is keen to use several crops such as switchgrass along with Arundo donax for the fuel production at the refinery.
Project Alpha, meanwhile, is expected to be designed along the lines of an operating bio-refinery in Crescentino, Italy. The refinery is operated by Beta Renewables, a joint venture between Chemtex, bio-innovation company Novozymes and investment firm TPG.
Beta Renewables spokesman Paolo Carollo noted: "Some of the energy crops we are proposing, such as giant reed, do very well in deep sandy soil. They adapt much better to low nutrients, and you don’t need to fertilize them very much or irrigate them."