A potential pyrolysis plant to handle plastic waste is so secret at this point that it has its own code name: Project Energy.
Even though there are efforts by local government officials to keep details of the proposal under wraps, there's support to spend $1.3 million to improve infrastructure to a proposed site in Greeley, Colo. The money would go toward a new road and install utilities for a facility in the Ironwood Business Park, according to a memo from the Greeley Urban Renewal Authority.
Local officials are keeping tight-lipped about the name of the company considering construction of the pyrolysis plant as well as a separate plastics sorting facility described as a transfer station in the memo.
"To make the plant economically viable, Project Energy will collect household waste and sort it into plastics destined for the pyrolysis plant. The company has secured commitments from current household waste haulers operating in Greeley to use their proposed local sorting facility site as the delivery point versus this waste being sent straight to the landfill, which is what happens currently," the memo reads.
"Project Energy already owns real estate in Greeley, but is actively looking for an alternative location closer to the plant. They are now focusing their acquisition efforts on the Ironwood Business Park," the memo reads.
The unnamed company already has agreed to purchase about 12 acres, described as "the entire undeveloped portion" of the business park and construct a $12 million, 20,000-square-foot municipal solid waste sorting and transfer station. This portion of the project would create 25 jobs.
Project Energy would provide "household plastic feedstock from its sorting/transfer station to the proposed pyrolysis plant," estimated to cost $85 million and measure 40,000 square feet. This portion of the project would create 35 new jobs.
Project Energy also would develop "additional speculative industrial space" measuring 50,000 square feet at a cost of $7.5 million.
And the firm behind the plant would donate 8.77 acres of land the company owns elsewhere to the city of Greeley for open space, trails and parks.
The city indicated work has been underway for the past year and a half on the potential project.
"The location of the proposed pyrolysis plant has been determined and will be adjacent west of the Anderson Sales and Salvage facility off 8th Street. Anderson purchased this site from GURA in 2022 and now holds title to this property under the name ASR Energy LLC. Anderson intends to use plastic waste from its auto recycling operations by conveying it to the adjacent site for processing," the memo states.
Benjamin Snow, Greeley's director of economic health and housing, could not immediately be reached for comment Feb. 21.
Pyrolysis uses temperature and heat in the absence of oxygen to break down plastics, or other materials, into their molecular components. They are typically then reconstituted into an oil that can then be used to create new products, including plastics, or used as fuel. The process also creates a gas that can then be used to continue to run the process. The third output from pyrolysis is char, which can be used as a soil amendment.