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Hydrogen Goes Green
for New Manufacturer

Purdue University's Birck Nanotechnology Center, considered one of the best university facilities for nano-specific research, opened in September 2005. The $58-million, 187,000-sq.-ft. (17,400-sq.-m.) complex will house 260 faculty and staff members.
   A new project in Indiana's northeast corner figures to boost the state's standing in the burgeoning alternative fuels field. ForeverGreen Enterprises (FGE) will build its first manufacturing facility during 2006, a $100-million project in Dekalb County that will eventually create 150 jobs.
   FGE uses plasma-induced molecular dissociation to produce hydrogen from a wide variety of readily available waste products such as those generated by industrial ink facilities and paint shops. Even benign household wastes can be used. It's a technology that's not new, but is now being used in a new way. FGE was founded about three years ago and currently operates from an office in Clifton, N.J.
   "What we were able to do is tweak the technology a bit and come up with a new business model on a commercial scale," says Randy Cole, FGE's co-founder.
   Cole says Indiana was chosen for its proximity to customers and suppliers. He says the region offers good transportation infrastructure and the work force demographics are right. It also helped that Cole is a native Hoosier.
   "It certainly didn't hurt and it certainly gave us better knowledge of potential Midwest locations," Cole says. "Indiana puts us smack dab in the middle of our potential customers. We are going to have to develop our own work force using this technology in a new way and we needed a demographic with a lot of engineering talent.
   "The greater Fort Wayne area is a very good part of the country for tapping into that type of work force," he says. "In the event we get really big, we also have access to Great Lakes ports in Toledo and Burns Harbor in Indiana. We also can get down to the Ohio River."
   Construction will begin during the first quarter of 2006 and the facility will be operational by the end of the year. Cole says the plant will be "equipment-centric" and construction will be relatively quick.
   FGE plans to use 140 million pounds (63.5 million kg.) of materials annually that might otherwise wind up in incinerators and special landfills or be dumped illegally. The company says it will annually produce enough of its product, called Green Hydrogen, to offset the need for 300,000 barrels of imported crude oil.
   Customers will include steel makers, metal fabricators, fertilizer manufacturers and food processors, Cole says.
   "We also anticipated that the hydrogen fuel cell market will develop over time and expect to be on the ramp up to serve those markets."
   FGE will receive incentives from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. that include:
    • Approximately $110,000 in training grants from the Skills Enhancement Fund to train Indiana resident employees;
    • Up to $50,000 in training grants for technology professionals through the Technology Enhancement Certification for Hoosiers fund;
    • Up to $3 million over 10 years in Economic Development for a Growing Economy tax credits;
    • Up to $1.5 million in potential tax credits for certain company investments through the Hoosier Business Investment tax credit program.

    Indiana is also getting its first soy biodiesel plant. Integrity Biofuels is moving into an existing facility in Morristown and plans to be producing fuel in early 2006.
Zimmer is expanding its mammoth facility in Warsaw. The 99,000-sq.-m. (9,200-sq.-m.) expansion is shown at the left/upper left next to the 528,000-sq.-ft. (49,000-sq.-m.) existing facility.
Company officials said they chose the site because it is near a Bunge North America facility, one of eight soybean processing plants in Indiana. Integrity will employ five to seven people and will produce 10 million gallons (37.8 million liters) of soy biodiesel annually, using 6.7 million bushels of Hoosier-grown soybeans.
   "In this site, we had access to an adequate supply of high-quality refined soybean oil, which is a key ingredient to soy biodiesel production," said Integrity Biofuels CEO Charles Whittington at the August 2005 announcement.
   The Renewable Fuels Association ranks Indiana 8th in the U.S. in terms of ethanol manufacturing capacity. That status could grow as several new ethanol plants are in the works for the state.
   The Andersons, Inc., a diversified firm with interests in the grain and plant nutrient sectors of U.S. agriculture, plans a new corn ethanol plant for Clymers. The company, which will invest approximately $140 million and create 40 to 50 jobs, says the plant will have a capacity of 110 million gallons (416 million liters) and be the largest east of the Mississippi River. The Andersons operates 13 agriculture-related business units in 10 Indiana counties, including four grain terminals handling more than 50 million bushels annually.

   Central Indiana Ethanol chose a site near Marion for its new $64-milliion corn refinery and ethanol plant that will create 40 jobs. The plant, with a planned startup in 2007, will have a capacity of 40 to 45 million gallons and will process 15 to 17 million bushels of corn annually.
   Putnam Ethanol LLC is investing more than $120 million to develop a new corn refinery and ethanol plant and create more than 40 jobs in Cloverdale. Putnam is based in Westmont, Ill. Its new plant will have the capacity to produce more than 60 million gallons annually as it consumes more than 20 million bushels of corn.
   The plant, projected to begin production in August, will use advanced technology to also produce carbon dioxide, corn germ, corn fiber and corn protein concentrate.
   Indiana Bio-Energy proposes a $134 million ethanol plant in Wells County that would employ about 50 with an annual capacity of 100 million gallons.
   Central Indiana Ethanol chose Marion for its new $64-million corn refinery/ ethanol plant that will create 40 jobs.
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