Biofuel advocates, Chemeketa Community College and Salem businessmen are hoping for federal money to build a new biofuels research and processing plant in Salem.
The project, which seeks $10 million in federal dollars, would create Oregon’s first such facility — nestled next to the state’s only commercial biodiesel production facility and biofuels analytical laboratory at Mill Creek Junction on Turner Road SE.
The project’s partners — Chemeketa Community College, Wildwood Inc. and Pacific Biodiesel Technologies Inc. — submitted the proposal to Oregon’s Congressional delegation, the first step in acquiring a federal “earmark” for 2010.
John Miller of Wildwood, owner and developer of Mill Creek Junction, wants to see Salem lead the alternative fuel sector: “This bread basket (the Willamette Valley) can also be a fuel basket.”
The proposed facility — between 20,000- and 30,000-square-feet — could produce as much as 432,000 gallons of liquid biofuels per year. The biofuels could be made from algae, woody waste and agricultural waste.
Chemeketa Community College hopes to train about 60 students a year at the facility.
“What we do well and want to do more of is train workers for employable jobs with skills that employers in our district need,” said Greg Harris, Chemeketa’s public information officer. “Chemeketa is not a research institution … we are more about practical skills. I think we wouldn’t be training future scientists as much as we would be training future technicians.”
Students would study under private industry scientists in Pacific Biodiesel Technologies and other businesses not yet named.
By Beth Casper, Statesman Journal – http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20090309/GREEN/903090356/1001/news