July 22, 2005

Company shelves plan to build biodiesel facility in south Weld

PLATTEVILLE – A proposed carbon and oil factory in southern Weld County is on hold and presumed dead after the federal government altered its definition of “biodiesel.”

Changing World Technologies of Hempstead, N.Y., which was proposing the project, is pulling the plug because of a lack of subsidies and tax credits that were necessary to make the facility viable.

Changing World and ConAgra Foods Inc. were collaborating to build the plant that would convert agricultural residuals – animal parts – to energy and other marketable products.

On a daily basis the factory would have initially converted 400 tons of waste from Con Agra’s turkey processing plant in Longmont into 800 to 1,000 barrels of oil, 10 to 20 tons of carbon, 10 to 20 tons of dry mineral fertilizer, 5,000 to 10,000 gallons of liquid fertilizer and 58,000 gallons of water.

“Unfortunately, while the science works, political technicalities are preventing our company from meeting the demand to expand our U.S. operations,´ said Changing World Technologies chairman and CEO Brian Appel.

Appel referred to the federal government’s determination that a tax credit of 50 cents to $1 per gallon for biodiesel would apply to products derived soybeans and cooking oil. Changing World’s product meets the universal definition of biodiesel as a liquid fuel produced from biomass, but not the federal standards.

“The exclusion is unfortunate because our fuel is superior in several ways,” Appel said. “It can be derived from a broad mix of waste products that are often difficult to dispose of otherwise, and it can be used as a gallon-for-gallon substitute for traditional diesel, rather than merely as an additive.”

Changing World Technologies uses thermal conversion process technology, which speeds up Mother Nature’s oil production process by 3 million years. The process mimics the earth’s natural geothermal process by using water, heat and pressure to chemically reform organic and inorganic wastes into specialty chemicals, gases, carbons and fertilizers.

Renewable Environmental Solutions LLC – the name for the joint company created by Changing World Technologies and ConAgra – slurries the unwanted materials with water and then heats the mixture under pressure to the desired temperature.

When the mixture reaches the proper temperature, it is quickly cooled and steam is released. The mixture is heated again to remove more water and produce light hydrocarbons. The whole process takes hours and the resulting crude oil would have been processed in Commerce City into No. 2 diesel, which is used by electric utilities for power plants.

The site for the proposed conversion plant lies between Platteville and Fort Lupton. Details about the plant and the corporate partnership were disclosed in the Department of Energy documents, as well on a company Web site.

The plant would have utilized agricultural waste from ConAgra’s Butterball turkey plant and from Swift & Co.’s lamb and beef processing plants in Greeley. The waste is currently disposed in local landfills.

The Weld County plant is not the first plant for Changing World Technologies. The company built a demonstration plant in Carthage, Mo. The Missouri plant opened in April 2003 and has gradually increased production since then. The plant processes 200 tons of waste – half of what the proposed Weld County plant would have processed.

The construction of the Missouri plant was offset by a $17 million subsidy, but a Colorado plant would require more funding.

“Colorado has the values and attitude toward more sustainable resources than others have,” Appel said. “But the state cannot match what the federal government can do to restore parity to the market.”

Appel is looking for a long-term tax credit or subsidy similar to ethanol of 50 cents to $1 per gallon.

The plant would have been constructed on 80 acres owned by ConAgra located in southern Weld County, near the intersection of Weld County roads 24 and 39. The property is home to Mile High Turkey Hatchery Inc. and an auto junkyard. Patina Oil and Gas also owns nine leases for oil and gas development on the site.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy environmental assessment, the plant would have employed up to 25 full-time staff and construction would have taken approximately 18 months.

Changing World Technologies has publicly said the company will not build another plant until they get their Carthage plant functioning successfully at capacity.

Recently residents of Carthage have begun complaining about the smell associated with the factory. In some parts of town the smell has forced residents inside. They say the smell induces vomit and carries for up to five miles from the plant.

“The company is cooperating and they say the smell is not their fault,´ said Carthage Mayor Kenneth Johnson. “The smell is that of burnt feathers and is very bad but the company has installed additional cleaners to help.”

Appel said he is positive the government limitation was not based on the complaints surrounding his company’s Carthage plant.

“Oh no, that is a local issue that we are dealing with by offering an odor hotline,” he said. “We have been given a clean bill of health at the plant. The area is an industrial area so the smell could come from anywhere.”

PLATTEVILLE – A proposed carbon and oil factory in southern Weld County is on hold and presumed dead after the federal government altered its definition of “biodiesel.”

Changing World Technologies of Hempstead, N.Y., which was proposing the project, is pulling the plug because of a lack of subsidies and tax credits that were necessary to make the facility viable.

Changing World and ConAgra Foods Inc. were collaborating to build the plant that would convert agricultural residuals – animal parts – to energy and other marketable products.

On a daily basis the factory would have initially converted 400 tons of waste…

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