Cellulosic ethanol development company NextStep Biofuels has signed a 20-year feedstock procurement contract with wood processing major The Price Companies.

According to the company, the contract calls for The Price Companies to supply NextStep annually with up to 500,000 tons of woodchips, bark, pulpwood and other tree-based waste products for conversion into cellulosic ethanol.

NextStep is currently evaluating sites in Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas where The Price Companies’ feedstocks will be processed.

Kevin Dretzka, president of NextStep Biofuels, said: “There are three key pieces to the cellulosic puzzle: technology, feedstocks and operations. There are a lot of companies out there with viable cellulosic technologies, but that does not mean they know how to secure price-stable access to feedstocks, identify and permit sites in strategic locations or cost-effectively build and operate bio-refineries.”

NextStep Biofuels is engaged in environmentally sound production of cellulosic ethanol. Comprised of seasoned biofuels operators, the NextStep team has commercialized biorefining technologies since the birth of the U.S. fuel ethanol industry over 25 years ago, claims the company. NextStep secures long-term, price-stable supplies of cellulosic biomass from the paper mills, lumber companies, municipalities and farm coops that control them.