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Biomass Partnership Retains & Creates KY Jobs

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear announced the first active energy services biomass project is coming to the Commonwealth. A partnership between The Lubrizol Corporation, Zeon Chemicals and Recast Energy will bring a $22 million investment to Louisville.

Lubrizol and Zeon are located adjacent to one another in west Louisville and share the use of certain utilities. Both facilities need steam, de-ionized water, wastewater treatment and compressed air to operate. Since the utility provider for the two companies announced its closing, Lubrizol and Zeon worked with state and local officials to develop a contract to bring Recast Energy to the area.

As a result, both companies will remain operational in their current locations, saving 340 jobs.

Recast Energy converts cost-competitive biomass, or organic matter, into green electricity and thermal energy (steam) for its industrial customers. The company is in the process of retrofitting a coal-fired boiler to consume clean biomass. The boiler is expected to be operational in the second quarter of 2012. The undertaking is estimated to entail a $12 million investment and will create 14 new positions. Additional off-site jobs in the new biomass fuel supply chain created by this project should add another 12 to 20 full-time workers in the area through third-party fuel suppliers.

The Lubrizol Corporation produces two families of products at the Louisville plant—Vycar® latexes, used in a wide range of coating applications and TempRite® CPVC resins for extrusion and molding. Lubrizol will invest nearly $6.5 million and retain 128 Kentucky employees.

“Receiving the incentive approval was a significant factor in our decision to move forward with the project and sustain long-term operations in Louisville,” said Sam Striegel, plant manager for Lubrizol. “We appreciate the creativity and support from Greater Louisville Inc. and the Cabinet for Economic Development in making the deal happen.”

Zeon Chemicals produces specialty elastomers for a variety of customers, including those in the automotive, industrial and housing industries. The company’s $3.5 million investment will retain 212 local jobs.

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved Lubrizol and Zeon for tax incentives up to $1.75 million each through the Kentucky Reinvestment Act. The program is designed to assist companies that need to make significant capital investment in Kentucky facilities in order to remain competitive and retain existing workforces.

“This announcement is a major step forward for Kentucky in two key ways. First, it preserves hundreds of jobs at a time when we need them more than ever, and, two, it helps address long-term environmental issues that have been endemic in our community,” said Rep. Reginald Meeks, of Louisville. “This is great news for west Louisville and for Jefferson County, and I’m happy it signals the arrival of Kentucky’s growing biomass industry.”

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