Schmack Biomass, a Cleveland, Ohio renewable energy and waste management company, has been awarded a $500,000 grant and $800,000 guaranteed loan by USDA’s Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) for an anaerobic digestion system on The Ohio State University’s OARDC campus.
The Wooster ecoFARMsystem 550 will be Schmack’s flagship facility and will process regional food waste, crop waste and manure from the University to produce clean, renewable electricity and thermal heat. The USDA award will build on a $500,000 grant awarded to the project by the Ohio Department of Development’s Biomass Waste to Energy Program in May of this year. “We aren’t building an anaerobic digestion plant, we’re building an industry,” commented Mel Kurtz, President of Schmack. “These combined grants will build the foundation for an anaerobic digestion industry based in Ohio that will retain and create jobs, produce clean energy and improve our environment.”
Partnering with OSU to build the facility on the Wooster campus was a natural next step for Schmack. In 2008 the company relocated its laboratory to OARDC to collaborate with the largest agbioscience research center in the nation. “The business-academic relationship between OSU and Schmack joins agricultural research with an emerging industry in the heart of Ohio,” commented Ohio’s Senator Sherrod Brown about the project.
“Schmack is a leading company in the burgeoning industry of converting waste streams into energy, which is vital to Ohio's economic future,” comments Dr. Steven Slack, Director of OARDC. “We are pleased to work with them on a project that can be an important component of a rural distributed energy network for the future."
“It’s about energy,” said Congressman John Boccieri. “Energy efficiency and energy independence. The OARDC’s research on methane digesters is revolutionizing the way we talk about waste. I support projects like this one at Schmack because, like me, the people behind this project know the cheapest energy is the energy we never use.”
Schmack’s Kurtz states that, “This project is truly a collaborative initiative of our Nation, our State, our elected officials, academia and private enterprise to build a renewable energy industry for our future.”
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