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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs