RJ Lee Group has received $2.5 million from the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program to be used towards building a cutting-edge tire depolymerization plant in Cumberland Township. During a presentation on October 24 at RJ Lee Group’s EverGreene Technology Park facility, Dr. Richard Lee, president, accepted a ceremonial check for monies that will be applied toward construction of the plant at Paisley Industrial Park.
David Crawford, director of the project, said groundbreaking for the 40,000-square-foot building could begin within three to six months. He said the plant will be designed to process 25 tons of waste tires per day, with the potential for future expansion. “The project is expected to create 35 to 40 jobs, in addition to hundreds of spin-off job opportunities that will result from RJ Lee Group’s private investment,” he said.
The process involves heating the shredded tires and adding a catalyst to break down the tire material into its various components. The end products are a heating oil; carbon black, a material used to produce new tires and other rubber products; and a gas with a high heating value that can be used in the recycling process. The plant will use only shredded tires. No whole tires will be stored on-site. More than one gallon of number 2 grade fuel oil is produced from each tire, making the process economically viable.
Allen Kukovich, representing Governor Ed Rendell at the event, said the project “ties in with the governor’s renewable energy plan, and this is about as green as you can get.”
State Senator J. Barry Stout, D-Bentleyville, who, along with state Rep. Bill DeWeese, helped secure the initial funding, said, “With this facility, we can put these tires to good use by generating energy for our homes and businesses instead of leaving them as they now are as contaminates to our groundwater, fire hazards and breeding grounds for insects.”
The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program is administered by the Governor’s Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic and historical improvement projects. Grants are made to local municipalities, public authorities and economic development organizations.
The Cumberland Township operation would be similar to the one RJ Lee Group presently is using in Berthold, N.D. The Company has taken tires from a tire dump in Perry Township, known as the Kiger tire pile, to its North Dakota plant for processing. For more information, visit www.deltaenergy.com.