BLOOMINGTON — A company that wants to make alternative jet fuel is eyeing Bloomington-Normal for a production site and the Twin Cities’ garbage as a raw ingredient.
Paradigm BioAviation wants to build its first “integrated bio-refinery” in Bloomington-Normal and begin production of jet fuel made from yard and household waste by the end of 2015, according to presentation materials included in a Bloomington City Council meeting packet released Wednesday night.
The project would turn municipal solid waste into a gas to produce electricity and a liquid jet fuel.
In a memo to aldermen, the city staff wrote that, at its full potential, a processing plant could cost more than $100 million to build and require 400 to 1,600 employees. It is unclear if those numbers apply to the proposed pilot plant or a larger production facility.
“We’re definitely at a very, very early stage of any consideration there will be,” said City Manager David Hales.
Mayor Steve Stockton agreed.
“This is not a sure thing,” he said. “It may never get off the ground or it may become something that’s very successful and could provide jobs, and that depends not only on local factors but on national factors such as the requirement for aviation fuel.”
Paradigm director and local businessman Orval Yarger deferred questions to the company’s president and CEO, Alan Robinson, who could not be reached Wednesday. On the company’s website, it lists Image Air Buildings at Central Illinois Regional Airport under its contact information.
Robinson is expected to present the idea to aldermen during their 7 p.m. Monday meeting at City Hall, 109 E. Olive St.
Normal City Manager Mark Peterson said the company is tentatively scheduled to present to his council the following Monday.
“There’s obviously a lot yet to learn about their plans, and I think they have still a fair amount of work to do,” Peterson said.
Hales said the project is regional in nature, and he expects multiple local governments and the Economic Development Council of Bloomington-Normal to be involved.
Marty Vanags, EDC chief executive officer, said Paradigm met with the EDC several months ago but hasn’t been back in touch or provided many details.
“The proof in the pudding is financials,” Vanags said, adding that he’s happy to work with the company going forward.