Chemtex International has received a Letter of Conditional Commitment for a $99m loan guarantee from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) under their 9003 Biorefinery Assistance Program to construct and engineer 'Project Alpha'.
Chemtex is holding talks with the state of North Carolina to build a cellulosic ethanol facility in the Sampson County area as part of the project.
The ethanol facility is expected to to use non-food energy feedstock crops and produce 20mgpy cellulosic ethanol.
Beta Renewables PROESA technology will be used by Chemtex to produce cost-competitive ethanol using non-food biomass as its feedstock.
The project has also received a Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) award as an additional support from the USDA.
Guido Ghisolfi, Chemtex president and Beta Renewables CEO, said Chemtex wishes to thank the USDA for its vision and confidence in the 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," Ghisolfi added.
"We believe that Project Alpha can become a model for future cellulosic ethanol production in America. Local economies and US energy security will benefit."
The project work will commence in 2014 and Chemtex will be assisted by the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, Novozymes, BB&T and the pork industry in the process.
Beta Renewables is a $350m joint venture formed from the Chemtex division of Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi and TPG.