The permit process is officially underway for a $53 million green energy plant in South Sioux City, announced Tony Demir, CEO of Green Star Gasifiers, LLC, during the BioEnergy Day program at Delta Hotels by Marriott Oct. 18.
The plant, located on a 17-acre piece of land in Roth Park, will create 29 full-time jobs for the area and 358 indirect jobs. Demir said he expects to see the plan up and running by December 2018 or spring 2019.
The Bowling Green, Ky.-based company will also move its headquarters to South Sioux City once the plant is completed. There are also engineering offices in Topeka, Kan., and Birmingham, Ala.
The company has agreements with 13 other Nebraska cities and it is anticipated those plants will be built within 36 months.
The plant will take in 343,000 tons of wood waste, such as dying or diseased trees, per year through a partnership with the Nebraska Forest Service and convert that into eight megawatts of energy. The process will be done through gasification, which Demir described as roasting the wood waste without combustion ensuring no smoke or negative impact to the atmosphere.
Three megawatts, which is eight percent of the city's current usage, will be generated to power homes and reduce energy costs in South Sioux City, while the remaining five megawatts will be used to power the plant.
“The idea is for the City of South Sioux City to procure energy at a cheaper rate,” Demir said.
There will be approximately 100,000 tons of wood pellets remaining as a byproduct after the conversion process which will then be sent for use in Japan and South Korea, making South Sioux City an exporter of biofuels.
“We're very excited about this new project,” said Lance Hedquist, city administrator. “It'll reduce electric costs for the citizens of South Sioux City.”
South Sioux City is known for being green, with 57 percent of its energy being renewable- one of the highest percentages in the Midwest. The city currently boasts 21 acres of solar energy, 15 megawatts of wind power, and generates hydropower.
“I'm very proud of the elected officials,” Hedquist said. “They have been very visionary for the community.”
There is currently $100 million worth of construction projects taking place in South Sioux City with another $100 million to be announced within the next year, Hedquist added.