$70M gas plant brings 315 jobs to SC Parish

April 04, 2007 at 1:20 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

A $70 million bio-gas company that is expected to generate 300 temporary construction jobs and 15 full-time industrial positions for St. Charles Parish is scheduled to open in Taft in Dec. 2008, a company spokesman says.

SilvaGas, a firm that converts waste material into gas that can be burned to generate electricity and also to provide a heat source for industrial uses, will begin construction on the a site near the Dow Chemical complex in July.

"The 300 jobs will come from building the project over the next 12 to 14 months, and then 15 permanent employees will be hired to run the facility full time," SilvaGas spokesman James Beach said.

The project won approval from the parish council by a unanimous vote during a regular bi-monthly meeting at the courthouse in Hahnville on April 2.

The plant is being called "the first commercially viable wood-waste recycling facility" in Louisiana.

"The site (for the physical plant itself) requires 20 acres of land that is being provided to our company by Dow Chemical under a long-term lease," said Beach, adding: "Depending on wetlands issues, the project may also require a 'bio-mass receiving area' of 40 acres of land."

Documents from SilvaGas state that the bio-mass receiving area would be a designated drop-off point for trucks carrying the waste materials.

Syngas - the name of the fuel the plant will produce - will flow entirely to Dow Chemical for use as a fuel source according to their long term gas purchase agreement with the company.

The silva-gas process has been around since the early 1980's.

Back then, facilities converted 45 tons or 1,000 pounds of waste material into the fuel per day.

By comparision, the new plant in Taft, depending on need, will convert 1,600 tons or 3,527,396 pounds per day - a huge improvement in efficiency.

The projected cost of the plant is $70 million, spokesman Beach said.

View other articles written Shonna Riggs

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