Company wants to produce alternative jet fuel in Bloomington-Normal

2012-12-05T20:46:00Z Company wants to produce alternative jet fuel in Bloomington-NormalBy Rachel Wells | rwells@pantagraph.com pantagraph.com
December 05, 2012 8:46 pm  • 

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.

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(13) Comments

  1. exrepub
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    exrepub - December 08, 2012 5:18 am
    My nieces husband works at a plant like this in Florida and as far as I know it is not ran by the government. Even if it was, it works great!
  2. exrepub
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    exrepub - December 08, 2012 5:17 am
    My nieces husband works at a plant like this in Florida and it is highly successful.
  3. Blazer22
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    Blazer22 - December 06, 2012 7:23 pm
    I am sure this is the kind of thing that will get the council all excited. But there is so much unknown and uncertain about this it is not even funny. How many of these are actually in full operation in the United States for any extended amount of time. Ethanol plants were going to be so great a few years ago. How many of those plants have gone bankrupt and sold for pennies on the dollar or shuttered. So much of the income is dependent upon other factors such as landfill rates and commodities such as fuel prices and recyclable values. This sounds like another dream that will probably fail. Some group was going to do something similar in Gibson City a few years ago and that never happened either.
  4. newsak
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    newsak - December 06, 2012 6:13 pm
    hilarious!! i love how abe froman (the sausage king of chicago) is calling out chicago! Save Ferris!
  5. pilotman46
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    pilotman46 - December 06, 2012 2:49 pm
    The idea of fuel from garbage is great, but the cost will probably be prohibitive for anyone except thegovernment spending OPM. The military has been buying jet biofuel at a cost of $26 to $59 per gallon, compared to regular jet fuel at $3 +or- per gallon Obama has spent about $100 billion taxpayer dollars on "green" energy, and the results are not good. I'm confident the local officials will do their due-diligence to protect the taxpayers.
  6. thoughts a million
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    thoughts a million - December 06, 2012 1:03 pm
    Solyndra's problem was the Chinese: with their government's assistance, they went after the world-wide solar panel market and dropped the price so low, Solyndra could not compete effectively. It wasn't "liberal, pie-in-the-sky" thinking; it was unfair competition.
  7. CubsfanBudman
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    CubsfanBudman - December 06, 2012 10:16 am
    Early stages folks, a lot of premature questions being asked.
  8. JaneL
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    JaneL - December 06, 2012 9:32 am
    What we don't know from the article is - where will this be? What is the environmental impact of such a plant? What additional Bloomington-Normal resources will be required to keep our community safe if such a product is being produced (even if it is from our waste) - additional fire department needs? etc. I would hope the city will required an impact study and hearings with the community. Fuel-making, of any kind, is not without it's risks and impacts - we need to know this JUST as much as we need to know about jobs and tax benefits!
  9. gabeski
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    gabeski - December 06, 2012 9:03 am
    AMEN!!!!!!!!
  10. abe_froman
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    abe_froman - December 06, 2012 7:28 am
    Chicago doesn’t process its own garbage. They send it downstate to dump like the rest of their problems.
  11. Forest Gump
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    Forest Gump - December 06, 2012 7:19 am
    Before we get any further considering this proposal, tell us upfront how many dollars will this cost us taxpayers? Also, given the recent oil and natural gas discoveries in the U.S., is this going to be a cost-effective venture, or just more liberal, pie-in-the-sky costly "green" technology that will end up in ashes like Solyndra?
  12. Schleswig-Holstein
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    Schleswig-Holstein - December 06, 2012 5:55 am
    Is Bloomington-Normals garbage of a higher octane rating then say Chicago?
  13. Interested
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    Interested - December 05, 2012 10:24 pm
    This is the type of business the Twin Cities and McLean county need to be going after, not another hotel.
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