The state's first ethanol production facility is set to be sold at a foreclosure auction later this month.
The $100 million factory, located about 20 miles west of Fayetteville in Hoke County, has been taken over by Cape Fear Farm Credit after the owner, Clean Burn Fuels, filed for bankruptcy in early April.
The foreclosure auction is set for Aug. 24, said Lonnie Player, Jr., a Fayetteville attorney who has been named substitute trustee in the case.
Clean Burn Fuels borrowed $69 million from Cape Fear Farm Credit to build the plant, according to Hoke County property records.
After operating for less than a year, Clean Burn Fuels halted production at the plant in March. The company initially said that the move was temporary and that production would resume once high corn prices drop.
But corn prices have continued to rise, doubling over the last year.
The Clean Burn Fuels plant was expected to produce 5 million gallons of ethanol a month, with the ability to eventually expand to 240 million gallons a year.
That would have made it the largest ethanol production plant in the country.
North Carolina once aspired to become the Southeastern hub for ethanol production. At one point seven projects had been proposed, but controversy plagued ethanol and the local developers were unable to raise the financing to continue development.
Meanwhile, ethanol prices have failed to keep up with rising corn prices.