biofuels | June 16, 2009 |
Biofuel Plants Look for Fresh Start
While the stimulus package and the green movement plow forward (with biofuels, of course), some of the green operations launched in the past few years are now facing difficult times including discontinued operations and bankruptcy.
In Crisp County, Georgia a recycling center funded by the public brought the hope of jobs and an industry built on a foundation of environmental sustainability. But, due to poor management, the center ceased operations in 2000. Then, Phil Davis, a local businessman decided to reuse the center and raised funding to implement a multi-step recycling operation where plastic soda bottles still containing soda contents are recycled. Step one involves extraction of the sugar in the soda for ethanol production. After soda extraction, the plastic bottles are recycled. And again, due to poor management and what some find, corruption, the center shut down operations (at least the ethanol division) and is facing bankruptcy. Creditors and the original bond holders have yet to be repaid, and the community is out hundreds of jobs.
In New York, an ethanol production plant filed for bankruptcy and has been bought out by Sunoco, Inc. Unfortunately, the plant never had a chance. A chance to operate that is. Due to failed construction activities including having never completed some construction necessary to operate the plant, developers and owners were unable to recoup construction costs through ethanol production. Similarly, the Hereford, Texas ethanol plant was bought up during bankruptcy by Ethanol Acquisition, LLC.
The plan for each of these plants is to reopen them, but for now, they will remain idle. This affects the progression of clean energy in the market, attempts at slowing climate change and air pollutant emissions, and green jobs for the masses of unemployed Americans.
Not operating green plants does not only arrest waste reduction and energy generation efforts, it also arrests the hope Americans have for a restored economy and relationship with the environment.
The moral of each of these stories is not that green operations are dysfunctional, but that the best laid plans may not be enough to turn plant operations into a thriving green business.
Any business, green or otherwise, must bring in revenue and produce a profit. The difference a green business typically experiences is in savings from operating a green building, generating its own energy or water supplies, or recycling its waste.