Clearfield County Commissioners Hear from Bio-Refinery Rep.

CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield County Commissioners heard from a representative from SWAN Biomass at their meeting on Tuesday.

SWAN recently received $2 million to develop a biomass conversion center in Clearfield to support the emerging biofuels industry in Pennsylvania.

The $2 million funding authorization through the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program was made possible through a Capital Budget request submitted by state Rep. Camille “Bud” George, D-74 Clearfield County, last year.

According to Robert Walker, the funding is for the SWAN Biomass Conversion Center of Excellence. The $100 million facility will employ 33 people and will provide the job training and technical services needed to operate and troubleshoot at bio-refineries across the country.

“It’s a big project,” said Walker. “There’s a lot of momentum behind it.”

Walker said that the plant will focus on cellulosic ethanol. He said that the workers trained at the center will be able to work with and develop cellulosic ethanol from available materials.

The center will first focus on forest wood-waste. He noted that a future fuel material will be poultry waste. That would produce both ethanol and fertilizer.

“It’s a very stable commitment to the transportation business,” Walker said of the ethanol.

Walker said that his company has plans for as many as 10 facilities in Pennsylvania.

“This is really exciting news,” said Mark McCracken, county commissioner.

County Commissioners Rex Read and Mike Lytle, as well as McCracken congratulated Walker and Swann.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Read.

Walker thanked Jim Davis for bringing SWAN to the county and George for the hard work he has done.

The commissioners then approved the chairman commissioner’s signing of any RAC-P paperwork that comes in.

“We’re that much closer,” said Read.

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