CADIZ - A new era of making the most of Ohio's resources in an environmentally friendly way may be coming to the area with the Ohio Energy Park, a business community of companies with a focus on turning waste to clean energy.
A demonstration of a waste processing induction heat machine which converts raw materials into oil was held at the location in the Harrison County Industrial Park.
Don Cullen, managing member, Ohio Energy Park, said the facility utilizes proven technology in coal briquetting, but enhances and expands the process.
"This is the first energy park where we've combined coal technology with municipal solid waste household waste and with tires and other biomass," he said, noting all waste material that comes into the park will be utilized. "Each of the different technologies is synergistic with the other. What one company has as a waste is a feed stock that another company needs."
The initial step will involve setting up a coal briquetting facility before the machine's arrival. This is expected to be up and running within 60 days.
Once the machine is working three shifts, 20 hours daily, about 200 jobs are expected to be directly created, with several indirectly created jobs resulting from each.
"It effects a lot of people. It really does. It brings a lot of money into the community," said John Callagher, managing partner of Genex Renewable Fuels. He said the device could process any particular waste strain, whether home trash, tires or the coal waste in the area. The waste is processed independently through three different waste screens, dealing with coal, rubber, or municipal waste.
Prior to this, the material is steam-cooked until it is separated into components such as aluminum and plastic.
Tires, for example, are shredded into chunks and processed through a 2-inch tube wrapped with an induction heating coil which raises the temperature to 900 degrees. At that point, the tire material becomes gaseous. This gas may be distilled into oil.
Callagher added that the capacity of the machine can be scaled depending on need. The demonstration unit is transportable in three trailers and has a maximum capacity of 300 tons in a day. It has a correspondingly small footprint.
"That means it can be transported very quickly to any site and be very quickly put into operation. It's very easy to use," he said. "The machine you see here can be scaled up to twice or three times or four times or five times the capacity depending on what the client wants, but the process does not change."
He noted that the heat chamber has six controllers to manage the heat in the main chamber, the time and temperature of the given material.
Callagher said his organization has spoken with trash haulers, waste coal sites, tire locations and other outfits who see the potential benefits of the machine.
The establishment and full operation of a Harrison County-based machine should be seven or eight months. Callagher said they plan to begin processing coal waste material into briquettes before the machine's arrival.
"When the machine comes in and is in place there will be raw material here ready to process," he said.
He added that the machine will be built in Ohio with 80 percent of the equipment manufactured in Ohio.
In addition, the operation can be duplicated in other areas as it branches out. The people employed and trained here will be capable of operating this equipment anywhere within Appalachia.
"We expect this to be the training ground for the additional sites," he said.
He added that Harrison County's Industrial Park provided an ideal environment.
"It has a facility here. It has a high percentage of fine material that can be processed," he said. "We have a very pro-active community and government that wants to have it in the area and bring jobs."
John Hurley, president of Energy Inc., said the process had no flare off of gases released into the air.
Cullen added that there are 44 small municipal power plants in the state which have faced the expense of placing scrubbers on their stacks. Cullen said this will no longer be necessary.
"When you take coal and combust it, you need to clean the sulfur and the heavy metals out in the stack. We take it out before it gets into the boiler. We pre-treat rather than post-treat," he said.
"You'll see jobs being maintained," he said. "Those jobs are saved, and in saving those jobs we generate new jobs in manufacturing the renewable fuel."
Cullen, a Harrisville native, added that he was familiar with Harrison County, its needs and potential, as well as a responsibility for solving environmental issues brought about by the industry of the past.
"It appears to be a great concept. I'm very, very hopeful that it becomes reality," said county Commissioner Don Bethel. "If this is the beginning of something great, I'm certainly thankful that it was started in Harrison County."