News / Science & Technology

Illinois Biomass Recycling Center Aims to be First of its Kind

Illinois Biomass Recycling Center Aims to be First of its Kindi
X
July 04, 2013 2:56 PM
A small town in the midwestern state of Illinois is home to a recycling initiative its creators hope will revolutionize biomass waste conversion. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, Chip Energy might not have been the first company converting one man’s junk into another man’s treasure, but it believes it's the first to build a recycling facility completely from recycled materials.
Kane Farabaugh
— A small town in the midwestern state of Illinois is home to a recycling initiative its creators hope will revolutionize biomass waste conversion.  Chip Energy might not have been the first company converting one man’s junk into another man’s treasure, but it believes it's the first to build a recycling facility completely from recycled materials.

Outside rural Goodfield, Illinois is a pile of wood that weighs 4.5 million kilograms.

Some people call it garbage, but for Paul Wever, it's something else.

"I look at this as oil barrels stacked one on top of the other.  It’s a pile of energy,” he said.

For several years, companies with industrial waste, like wooden crates, have used Wever to cart the materials away.

Wever converts the wood into mulch, fuel and other products that he can sell.

“My customers presently pay me to take the material and convert it into a value added product.  If I’m successful, I’ll end up paying them,” he said.

The secret to his success lies not in what he creates, but how he does it.  An engineer by trade, Wever is building a biomass recycling facility next to this massive pile of wood… out of nothing but recycled materials, including previously used concrete and shipping containers.

“For us to build this facility conventionally with concrete and steel and those types of material would cost in the $5 million-$6 million range.  We’re going to be building this facility for $1.5 million-$2 million,” he said.

Wever believes his facility is the first of its kind, which is why it was hard to sell the plan to local officials.

“We heard Paul’s idea, and we were skeptical because this is so innovative that we had nothing to compare it to,” says Woodford County Board Chairman Stan Glazer. But Wever made him a believer by persevering.  

“When the huge pile of debris started appearing, that’s when we started maybe having some second thoughts about it, but Paul was so determined that he made believers out of most of us that it was gonna come to fruition,” said Glazer.

When it does happen sometime later this year, it will be with much of Wever’s own money.

“The grant for this particular facility only covers about 18 percent of the actual building cost. So it was enough that I was willing to make the decision to proceed with the investment. I’m making a large investment," he said. "This is my project. I don't have investors, I don't have other people helping me, this is my project."

Wever hopes the project eventually sets an example for other biomass recycling centers that can be built anywhere in the world, preventing millions of kilograms of wood waste from being dumped into landfills.

“I’m not inventing the next hula-hoop.  This is something that is part of building a sustainable nation,” he said. And It also helps building a sustainable planet.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: lee A from: mississippi
July 05, 2013 1:59 PM
this is already being done in columbus and natchez ms

In Response

by: lee anthony from: mississippi
July 17, 2013 11:01 AM
well that just confirms we are in this for the long haul by investing in facilities and infrastructure costs ,especially in the golden triangle of starkville/west point/ columbus

In Response

by: Corey B from: Illinois
July 16, 2013 2:12 PM
Are you referring to the company KiOR ? They are producing gasoline, biodiesel, and fuel oil, which is a very different operation than this one which will produce solid fuel as pellets and briquettes. Their Columbus facility costs $213 million and processes 500 dry tons per day, whereas the Chip Energy facility costs $1.5-$2 million and processes 100 tons per day.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid