North Carolina plant nears production start

By Dave Nilles | September 01, 2006
While the celebration is over, the work continues in getting a North Carolina biodiesel plant on line. A ceremonial grand opening was held Monday for Piedmont Biofuels Industrial's 1 MMgy biodiesel plant near Pittsboro, N.C.

Initial biodiesel production is expected within a week, according to Piedmont's Rachel Burton. Test samples will then be sent to an off-site lab to verify ASTM 6751 biodiesel standards.

"Last night's grand opening event was a true culmination of seeing how involved and supportive the community has been," Burton said.

Piedmont Biofuels Industrial is a project of Piedmont Biofuels, a 350-member co-op founded in 2002. The co-op grew out of the support for a biofuels program at Central Carolina Community College in Pittsboro.

Burton said approximately 500 people attended Monday's celebration, including U.S. Reps. Bob Etheridge and David Price, and state Rep. Joe Hackney, who has supported a variety of biofuels legislation in the state.

The biodiesel project was partially funded by the North Carolina Department of Administration's State Energy Office and built in an abandoned Cold War-era metal alloys plant, according to Piedmont.

Feedstock, which will consist primarily of waste vegetable oil and animal fats, will be sourced within a 100-mile radius of the plant, Burton said. The facility is equipped with a fuel terminal that can accommodate top-loading and bottom-loading fuel tankers.

The plant also features an in-house fuel quality lab, which Burton said can do six of the required tests for ASTM 6751.

Piedmont Biofuels Industrial joins Blue Ridge Biofuels in Asheville, N.C., as in-state biodiesel producers. The multi-feedstock Blue Ridge plant has 2 MMgy of production capacity. A Blue Ridge spokesman said the plant is entertaining plans to expand production capacity and on-site storage.

Piedmont Biofuels Industrial
Location: Pittsboro, North Carolina
Design/builder: Piedmont Biofuels
Capacity: 1 MMgy
Feedstock: multi-feedstock
Biodiesel marketer: Piedmont Biofuels
Start of construction: September 2005
Start-up date: September 2006

Dave Nilles is Online Editor for Biodiesel Magazine. Reach him at or (701) 373-0636.

Posted: 11:16 a.m. CDT Wednesday, September 27, 2006
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