The saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” well defines Fulcrum Bioenergy's business. In the next few years, Gary, Indiana, will be home to a new facility planning to turn trash into biofuel.
The company will invest an estimated $600 million into what it plans to call the Centerpoint Biofuels Plant in northwest Indiana. The company will build a 50-acre facility, creating about 163 new jobs by the end of 2022.
Fulcrum President Jim Macias says 50 percent of the garbage that’s put into landfills across the country has the elements that can be extracted for energy.
“We mine that carbon and hydrogen out of the dirty garbage, clean it, and then process it and turn it into renewable fuel that can be used at airports, trucks all across the country,” says Macias.
The company plans take 700,000 tons of garbage from the Chicago area annually and convert it into about 33 million gallons of transportation fuel.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson says it’s an investment in a city that’s fallen on hard times since its heyday in the mid 20th Century.
“We know that we have infrastructure, we know we have the assets, we know that we have the location, and we know that we have the people,” she says.
City Council President Ronald Brewer points to the recent success the city has had recently with Alliance Steel moving to the area and U.S. Steel and Arcelor committing money to upgrade facilities
“I’m glad to see Gary as a part of the rebuilding of the workforce in the State of Indiana,” he says. “We’re contributing that growth here inside the City of Gary.”
Gov. Eric Holcomb says the new jobs will provide residents a chance at a new livelihood.
“We’re gonna do some incredible things with the folks with the folks that are going to, not just have a new job but have a new career and a new future that’s going to allow them to see beyond what was their once borders,” says Holcomb.
Macias says his business is a part of a growing industry.
“As there’s more attention to climate change and what can we all do to reduce that impact, there’s going to be more and more of this,” says Macias. “Certainly, more of this from us.”
Fulcrum plans to begin construction in 2020 and will receive $2.1 million in Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) conditional tax credits from the state, plus some local incentives still waiting to be finalized. The company’s first facility is located in Reno, Nevada, and is currently under construction. When complete, the company says will be the first commercial-scale waste-to-fuels plant in the U.S.