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An upstate energy company is considering an Auburn property for a new plant to manufacture renewable fuel pellets.

Manlius-based Blue Electron is expected to submit an application to the Auburn Industrial Development Authority for a factory located in the city’s technology park. The proposal calls for a roughly 20-acre facility that the company says would create about 20 jobs.

According to preliminary estimates given to the AIDA board earlier this month, the $15 million plant would run under the name CNY Biofuels and produce 43,000 tons of fuel pellets per year.

The plant would also use heat and energy produced by the recently completed city landfill gas generator located nearby.

“We’re trying to be a low-cost producer,” said Kamyar Zadeh, president of Blue Electron.

Though the company has yet to submit an application to AIDA, the proposal will likely include requests for financial benefits such as an agreement for payment in lieu of taxes and some other tax exemptions.

Since the proposed site location is owned by AIDA, the project would also include some sort of land lease or purchase agreement, according to the presentation.

Though it is still early, Zadeh said the company it looking to enter the commercial and industrial pellet market, which he said has a lot of potential.

“That’s a market that is right now undersold,” he said.

When the city and private firm CH-Auburn entered into a cooperative agreement to build the nearby generator, which runs on gas from the city landfill, they predicted the project could help spur economic development.

Zadeh said the CNY Biofuels plant would convert wood and agricultural material into the fuel pellets, a process that calls for a high amount of heat to pull moisture out of the wood product.

Though the plant will have to use other sources of heat to supplement the process, the available energy from the generator makes this location more attractive, he said.

Zadeh said he would like to have the project financed before the fourth quarter of this year. If things move at an ideal pace, he said, construction would begin in April.

Jennifer Haines, executive director for AIDA and the city’s planning director, said Monday that AIDA is anticipating CNY Biofuels will submit an application soon. The AIDA board would have to vote on an initial project resolution and set a public hearing for financial incentives before taking a final vote, Haines said.

“As soon as we receive the application, we will move it forward as quickly as possible,” Haines said.

Staff writer Christopher Caskey can be reached at 253-5311 ext. 282 or christopher.caskey@lee.net

 

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