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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
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.

AppleAndroid