The chief executive officer of California-based Brightmark Energy says a $260 million plastics-to-fuel plant in the northeast Indiana town of Ashley is close to being fully operational. Construction on the facility began in May 2019 and, when complete, will initially be able to convert 100,000 tons of plastics into ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and naphtha blend stocks, as well as commercial-grade wax each year. Bob Powell says the company is in the process of hiring 40 additional employees, with the goal of having about 80 people working at the plant by the end of the year.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Host Gerry Dick, Powell said the plant is making “tremendous progress.”
“We have much of the construction complete, not quite complete, but we certainly have a lot of the tanks you would see on the outside to store some of the products we make and one of the really exciting things is now, it is real in terms of what we’re doing to recreate plastic,” said Powell.
The facility is designed to take in typical plastic products, as well as hard-to-recycle products such as car seats, televisions and computers, and turn them into small plastic pellets, which will then be converted into liquids used to make the gases and wax.
Powell says the facility has already produced 150 tons of plastics pellets.
“And very shortly, we’ll begin to produce those liquids and gases here at the facility and then be up and running at full scale, we expect, taking 100,000 tons of plastics annually by the end of this year or early next year.”
The plant is expected to employ a total of nearly 140 employees. The company held a virtual career webinar last week and is still looking to fill about 40 jobs.
“We’re talking about engineers who are highly-skilled down to folks that may not be engineers but are really good at working with mechanical equipment, so mechanics, certainly maintenance people. We do have office personnel as well, so it really runs the full gamut of highly-specialized individuals to those who have certainly a history of working in plant environments and those types of things as well.”
You can learn more about the open positions by clicking here.
Powell says local and state officials have been great partners on the project, which made the decision to locate the plant in Indiana an easy one.
“That’s absolutely been really important to us. Steuben County here where Ashley is located, even at the state level, really recognize that it’s important to encourage businesses to be here and we felt a tremendous amount of support, again, from state down to the local folks.”
In December, Brightmark announced it is partnering with Indianapolis-based RecycleForce to not only provide recyclable materials for the plant, but also potential employees as part of the company’s workforce training program.