First Biodiesel Plant Opens in North Carolina

September 27, 2006

Piedmont Biofuels began by making alternative fuel from French fry grease and is now ready to start production of biodiesel at its new facility in Pittsboro, North Carolina. The company plans to convert chicken fat into 1 million gallons of biodiesel per year at the factory. It's the first of three biodiesel production plants being built in North Carolina, which is among the nation's top consumers of biodiesel fuel. Researchers at the North Carolina Solar Center say the state consumed more than 1.5 million gallons of biodiesel in 2005.

Piedmont Biofuels inaugurated the plant September 25 and will begin production in a couple of days. When it begins, liquid chicken fat will be pumped into a 2,000-gallon reactor vessel where it will be mixed with methyl alcohol and a catalyst such as potash to change the fat into fuel. Once the biodiesel is cleaned, it is ready for sale.

The new plant was launched with an investment of about $1 million, including a $170,000 grant from the North Carolina State Energy Office for production equipment.

Source: September 26 story written and distributed by the Associated Press and published by The Charlotte Observer