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Biodiesel plant to locate in Gordo | Local headline
by By JONATHAN JACKSO
Dec 26, 2006 | 94 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
GORDON - The Wilkinson County Development Authority announced Thursday the location of a biodiesel plant to be located in Gordon.

Alterra Bioenergy of Middle Georgia, LLC plans to put in a plant that will sell, distribute and manufacture biodiesel fuel.

Wayne Johnson, president of Alterra, credited the positive working relationship with Wilkinson County in the final decision to locate in Gordon.

“It’s Wilkinson County’s ‘Can do’ and ‘Can do it now’ attitude that made this possible,” Johnson said at the announcement ceremony held Thursday at the plant’s future location on Tremon Street.

The Tremon Street site was the subject of an article in Georgia Trend magazine that praised the county, state and federal governments in a cleanup and rehabilitation of the property to ready it for economic redevelopment. The article ran in conjunction with an award from the state designating Wilkinson as a “County of Excellence.”

Alterra will produce six million gallons of B-100 biodiesel annually in Gordon. The company will distribute up to 30 million gallons per year from the site in its first phase. The plant will initally employ eight to ten at the Gordon site with plans for a second, larger facility in Wilkinson County that will employ ten to 15 people,

Gordon mayor, Kenneth Turner welcomed Alterra to Gordon and welcomed what he called a “new spirit of cooperation that everyone has taken upon themselves to show.” Turner pledged that companies who put their resources in Wilkinson County could rest assured that their investments would be well taken care of.

“We’re going to make sure that happens,’ Turner said.

For a community once almost exclusively dependent on kaolin mining and refining, and now dealing with the decline of that industry, the biodiesel plant represents a definite win in the minds of economic development advocates.

“I thought it was a match from day one and I think this is going to be a very good relationship,” development authority chairman Frank Wall said.

Biodiesel fuel can be made from any plant bearing oil and has definite advantages over traditional diesel, according to Johnson. Citing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, biodiesel, which uses renewable resources, represents a virtually unlimited supply of base material. Alterra plans to use soybean oil in its production. According to Dr. Lynda Smith, a member of the Clean Cities Coalition, there are additional advantages.

“That Mercedes there has 250,000 miles on it,” Smith said. “My mechanic told me that since I’ve been using biodiesel, it is in such good shape that I’ll get a million miles out of it.”

According to Charise Stephens, executive director of the Clean Cities Coalition, biodiesel adds to the lubricity of diesel engines and in the long run will save owners or fleet operators on repairs.

Representative Allen Freeman called the location of the plant a true success story as well.

“We as a state and a country can depend less on foreign oil and will be in better shape,” Freeman said. Freeman also challenged Johnson to hire from within Wilkinson County whenever possible.

Distribution at the facility should begin in March, 2007 and production in September. Biodiesel compares in cost with traditional diesel fuel.

Wilkinson County’s first economic development director, Farrah Senn, commented on how pleased she is with Alterra’s plans to locate in Gordon.

“I am so pleased Wayne decided to locate here,” Senn said. “I feel strongly that his presence in this community will be an asset to the entire county.”

Alterra plans to have diodiesel available in March of next year
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