By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer
The Clovis Industrial Park could have its first tenant operating by next month, according to Clovis Industrial Development Corp. Executive Director Chase Gentry.
Gentry said the Blue Sun-owned Clovis Biodiesel plant should be ready to process vegetable products into biodiesel by January. The plant will produce about 15 million gallons of the alternative fuel and create about 13 jobs, he said.
A second tenant at the park, American Renewable Fuels, is going through the final stages of an engineering design for its first plant, according to Chief Executive Officer Ross Garrity.
A subsidiary of Australian Renewable Fuels, the company is slated to break ground for its first American facility around April or May, he said. The plant would produce about 75 million gallons of biodiesel a year from animal fat and create about 50 jobs, he said.
The plant will also produce glycerin and potassium sulfide, which will be sold back to farmers.
“Our technology is what we call a zero-waste stream technology,” Garrity said. “Whatever goes into the process comes out as a product or a by-product.
The CIDC will ask legislators for a capital outlay request for about $1.5 million to install railway access to the park, Gentry said.
He said the American Renewable Fuels plant will need the railway to bring in the feed stock and animal fat needed for its processes.
The park was created to have an area with ready access to utilities to entice industries to come to Clovis, he said.
“The whole goal behind it is we can create jobs that’ll bring in new money to the community.” Gentry said.
He said the park infrastructure should be completed by March. Construction crews are installing water and sewer lines and paving highway-grade roads on the facility, he said.
Meanwhile, New Jersey-based White Hat Energy hopes to break ground on a proposed natural gas facility located on 20 acres of land near the city’s wastewater treatment plant in March, according to construction manager Gene Carey. The plant will be built on land the City Commission donated to the company during an August meeting.
Carey said the plant will create about 90 jobs initially and about 250 jobs over five years.
The company is waiting on possible funding from the USDA, according to Carey. He said the department could pay for 90 percent of the tanks for four anaerobic digesters, which can convert about 200,000 tons of cow manure a year into methane.
Carey said the facility will collect the manure from area dairies and use about 600,000 gallons of wastewater a day from the Southwest Cheese to produce the gas. He said the gas-making process will clean the water, which will be sold back to the city.