Groundbreaking For First Ethanol Plant In North Carolina

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A Cary-based company has broken ground on the state's first ethanol plant.

Clean Burn Fuels plans to spend 100 million dollars to build the facility to turn corn into ethanol near Raeford in Hoke County. It's expected to bring 100 jobs and tax revenue to the rural area.

Company president Jack Carlisle says Clean Burn Fuels will sell ethanol to major oil companies which will blend it into gasoline. Carlisle says the facility will be able to better transport ethanol to distributors in the East than similar plants in the corn-rich Midwest.

The plant is one of four proposed in North Carolina.

But North Carolina State University economist Roger von Haefen says corn ethanol is only economically viable if gas prices remain high and government subsidies continue.