The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced last month that it will guarantee a loan to support the development of advanced biofuels production from energy grasses. The loan funds will be used to construct a 20 million gallon per year refinery in North Carolina that will produce biofuel using non-food biomass feedstocks.

The project is expected to help reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, increase farm income, and create jobs in the mid Atlantic region. Local farmers will also directly benefit from the project through the sales of newly established energy grasses to the biorefinery. It is estimated that about 30,000 acres of farmland will be required to supply the facility with adequate feedstock.