Ag Plastic Recovery Program; $91,000
James Vancura and ORE-CAL RC&D led the way in seeking solutions to the problem of waste agricultural plastic while at the same time addressing the problem of Western Juniper invasion, and controlling erosion and enhancing productivity of western range lands.
The project looked at potential to combine waste agricultural plastic (over 1,000,000 pounds per year) with wood shavings from Western Juniper, an invasive species that crowds out native grass species and leaves top soil bare and highly susceptible to devastating erosion, into a high BTU alternative fuel cube for heating and industrial energy.
With the assistance of a grant from US Forest Service ($91,000), Ore-Cal RC&D completed an economic cash-flow analysis to help determine potential costs of production of alternative fuel cubes. Additionally, economic analysis by an independent economist, Jaeger (2006) helped complete the feasibility study and pre-business plan calculations. Refined production cost, and a draft business plan, enabled potential fuel cube buyers to evaluate economic interest in collaboration on subsequent California emissions testing. As a final step, a California emissions test prospectus completed the study and provided viable information needed to move forward in future projects.
The business plan identified the margin of profit as related to the plastics market and the breakeven point that can be withstood to support a reliable supply of plastic film to the proposed cubing plant. At the time the plan was developed, plastic prices prohibited financial viability of fuel cube production, but this information proved vital in making the right decision and allows investors to track plastic markets in regard to viability of producing alternative fuels from these waste products.
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