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Maryville celebrates rebirth of carbon black plant

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By TONY BROWN Staff writer
Maryville Daily Forum

Many Maryville officials turned out Friday for opening ceremonies welcoming the city’s newest corporate citizen, Maryville Carbon Solutions.

The first manufacturing facility opened by Boulder, Colorado-based startup Bolder Industries, Maryville Carbon, is housed in the former Carbolytic Materials Company plant, which closed in 2012 after a troubled three-year run that included an oil spill, two fires, and eventual bankruptcy.

Like its predecessor, Maryville Carbon intends to transform scrap automotive tires into a trademarked version of carbon black, a coloring and reinforcing agent used to manufacture an almost endless list of rubber and plastic products from gaskets and wetsuits to conveyor belts to O-rings.

In addition to its primary product, “Bolder Black,” the factory, now operating on a shakedown or “commission” basis with a skeleton crew, plans to produce syngas — a type of fuel gas — and lubricant-grade oil through a process known as pyrolysis.

It will also recover and sell the steel used in tire belting.

The oil will be marketed as well, but plans call for construction of a small syngas plant on site that will produce enough electricity to power the entire facility. The company is also proposing transferal of any excess wattage to Northwest Missouri State University or the City of Maryville.

Pyrolysis is accomplished by subjecting ground-up tire material to temperatures of around 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit in an oxygen-starved environment, what amounts to a huge oven designed to siphon off the oil and gas and leave behind a dark-colored solid that is reduced to ultra-fine powder before being mixed with water and formed into tiny pellets for shipment to customers.

During a tour of the plant — refitted over the past two years at a cost of around $10 million — Bolder Industries founder and CEO Tony Wibbeler began by leading a group of local residents through the factory’s shredding area where a huge grinder renders tires into palm-sized chunks.

Other machinery recovers steel belting and shreds the rubber into ever-smaller pieces until it is ready for the pyrolysis oven, which makes up factory’s technological heart.

“That’s where the magic happens,” Wibbeler said.

While the process is similar to the one employed by Carbolytic Materials, Wibbeler insists that a number of refinements have made production cleaner and safer, and that the possibility of fires and spills is low.

For example, one of the CMC fires was caused by the use of powerful heaters to keep exterior pipes filled with a mixture of water and oil from freezing on a bitterly cold night.

Wibbeler said that won’t happen using a new system that places most production and storage operations inside the plant and separates oil and water earlier in the process.

In addition, he said, Maryville Carbon plans to offer monthly tours of the facility to members of Maryville’s largely volunteer fire department and has installed an advanced-technology fire-suppression system. The idea of the tours is to familiarize a changing roster of firefighters with the factory and its contents so they will be prepared should an emergency arise.

While combining heat, rubber, gas, and oil is an unavoidably messy undertaking, Wibbeler and his management team believe Bolder Black will pay off environmentally as well as financially.

Ken Dunn, Bolder Industries’ sustainability director, said Friday that “We are very proud of what we have here” in terms of producing a substance from scrap tires, which for years have created solid-waste problems on a global sale.

Dunn said 300 million tires are scrapped each year, and that an increasing number of landfills are refusing to take them. The result, he said, is that about 50 percent of all waste tires are incinerated, a practice that has come under increasing scrutiny by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

At full production, Dunn said, Maryville Carbon will initially be able to process up to 1 million scrap tires a year, enough to produce 7 million pounds of Bolder Black, 1.2 million gallons of oil, and 1,600 tons of recovered steel.

Compared to producing a similar amount of “virgin” carbon black from petroleum, Dunn said, the Maryville Carbon operation will reduce carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 480,000 tons a year, save 161 million gallons of water, and produce 84 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, enough to power nearly 8,000 single-family homes.

From a customer’s point of view, Dunn said major manufacturers — including General Motors and Ford — are increasingly interested in carbon black recovered from tires and other kinds of scrap rubber because it improves their environmental “scorecard” with regard to various regulatory requirements.

Another upside for buyers, he said, is that while the cost of conventional carbon black is tied to the price of oil, Bolder Black is produced from “feedstock” — that is old tires — that is essentially free.

That means, Dunn said, that Bolder Industries should be able to offer customers a fixed price over the term of multi-year contracts regardless of how oil prices fluctuate.

As for the local impact, Bolder Industries Vice President Nate Murphy said he has about 20 job openings to fill almost immediately, including a plant manager position. At full production, Murphy said, the factory will likely have a payroll of between 35 and 40 workers clocking in over three shifts.

If the customer demand is there, Murphy said that for technical reasons the plant is most efficient operating 24 hours a day, since once the pyrolytic oven is hot it needs to stay hot.

During Friday’s event, local government and economic development officials praised Maryville Carbon for taking a community-centered approach in re-opening the shuttered plant.

Josh McKim, executive director of Nodaway County Economic Development, noted that the company cleared up tax debt left by the previous owners, even though it had no obligation to do so.

“There is social good in the business plan they’ve got,” McKim said. “It’s more than just a profit center. Lots of companies give lip service to that, but they have put their money where their mouth is.”

City Manager Greg McDanel, who along with McKim has been working to bring Maryville Carbon to Maryville over the last couple of years, said significant challenges had to be addressed before a deal was struck, but that the company chose to “embrace those challenges and pivot toward the future and growth.”

Also speaking prior to a ceremonial ribbon-cutting at the plant was state Rep. Allen Andrews, R-Grant City, who called the recruitment process resulting in the company’s move to Maryville a “job well done.”

Andrews added that he believed Maryville Carbon will benefit from what he sees as the Maryville region’s work ethic and tight-knit sense of community.

“Not only are we good workers,” he said, “we’re good neighbors.”

 

www.maryvilledailyforum.com

NCED to receive $425,000 in small business loan funds

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By TONY BROWN Staff writer
Maryville Daily Forum
March 2, 2016

Nodaway County Economic Development, a non-profit agency that, among other tasks, seeks to help local businesses expand while recruiting new enterprises to the area, offered some good news Tuesday for would-be entrepreneurs and existing small-business owners.

NCED Executive Director Josh McKim said the agency has been approved for $425,000 in low-interest loan funds to be disbursed to borrowers seeking either to grow existing businesses or start new ones across an area embracing Nodaway, Atchison, Gentry, Holt, and Worth counties.

The money, made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through its Intermediary Relending Program, is being awarded as one of only six low-interest loan initiatives in five states intended to spur economic development in rural areas.

McKim said NCED will use the money to renew its existing revolving loan fund, which provides financing for small businesses. He said potential borrowers already in the local economic development pipeline have the potential to create up to 50 new jobs.

The initiative is similar to an earlier infusion of cash made available several years ago for startups and small-business expansions through the Neighborhood Assistance Program administered by the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

NAP funds earmarked for no-interest loans, McKim said, totaled $150,000, most of which has been disbursed.

The USDA program differs slightly from NAP, he said, in that borrowers will be charged between 2 and 3 percent interest.

McKim said the length of time over which loans are to be repaid will vary depending on what the money is used for. Businesses borrowing working capital, for instance, will have two to five years to repay their debt. Equipment loans are to be spread out over five to seven years, and real estate acquisition and construction loans can be financed for as long as 10 years.

The maximum loan amount is $250,000. Non-profit organizations are ineligible for the program.

As for the types of enterprises eligible for assistance, McKim said the guidelines are fairly broad so long as the business operates within a rural area, a designation that includes the entire five-county region.

 

In practice, McKim said he expects most of the money to go to retail and service-sector operations in addition to a limited number of small “early stage” manufacturing concerns.

Though loan applications will have to be approved by USDA, McKim said the primary decision-makers will be a local loan committee and the NCED board.

He said one of the attractive features about the program is that it gives NCED local control over who gets the money for what purpose.

While the USDA has approved NCED’s involvement in the program, McKim said a number of administrative steps remain before the money becomes available.

After those are completed, the funds will remain with USDA and be disbursed through NCED to borrowers as individual loans are approved.

Prospective borrowers must submit written applications to the NCED office, which is located at 423 N. Market St. in Maryville. The office’s phone number is 660.582.4490, and the NCED website is located at www.nodaway.biz.

www.maryvilledailyforum.com

Northwest CIE designated as Missouri Innovation Center

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Northwest Missouri State University’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) has been designated as a Missouri Innovation Center by the Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC).

The Missouri Innovation Center program is a major statewide resource for commercializing Missouri innovations. The Innovation Center program, which includes nine other centers throughout the state, provides assistance to entrepreneurs and early-stage, technology-based business ventures.

Innovation centers work closely with their associated universities and are targeted to develop high-growth advanced technology companies. Innovation centers provide access to specialized entrepreneurial and small business support services critical to the growth of high-tech startups including access to capital, technical and business experts, and, in some cases, specialized facilities.

The designation is on a provisional basis through June 2014. At that time, the MTC board will consider granting full designation to Northwest’s CIE for fiscal year 2015. Full designation is based on goals set by economic development indicators, including capital investment and job creation.

CIE Director Larry Lee said Northwest has worked closely with several of the current Missouri Innovation Centers and the designation will help it align assets and create a seamless process for Missouri entrepreneurs and innovative businesses in need of assistance.

“It is a distinct honor to have the designation of Missouri Innovation Center at Northwest’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” Lee said. “I look forward to working with MTC to stimulate technology entrepreneurship in northwest Missouri.”

The CIE, located on the north edge of the Northwest campus, is a mixed-use incubator with emphasis on technology-based, start-up companies. It also provides assistance to existing small businesses and encourages development of new small businesses. The 46,679 square-foot facility includes three lab analysis research areas, a shared scientific instrument room and 9,000 square feet of tenant office space. The academic wing contains more than 16,000 square feet of highly specialized teaching and research labs and offices.

For more information about opportunities to accelerate the success of your high-growth business or to use the services of the CIE’s contract analysis lab, visit www.nwmissouri.edu/cie/.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468

Gov. Nixon issues statement on Missouri’s ranking as one of the most business-friendly tax climates in the nation

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon today issued the following statement on the release of the Tax Foundation’s 2014 State Business Tax Climate Index, which found that Missouri has the 7th most favorable corporate tax structure in the nation.  The Tax Foundation ranked Missouri’s overall business tax climate as 16th in the nation, better than all but one of Missouri’s eight neighboring states.

“This independent report reaffirms Missouri’s status as a low-tax state with a stable and competitive climate for businesses to grow and invest,” Gov. Nixon said. “As Governor, I have worked to enhance our nationally-recognized business climate by cutting taxes in targeted, fiscally responsible ways and by making strategic investments in education and workforce training.  Today, it is clear that these proven, fiscally responsible strategies are paying off for Missouri families and businesses.  I look forward to continuing to work with legislators on common sense policies that will keep Missouri’s economy moving forward.”

A link to the report is available here.   http://taxfoundation.org/article/2014-state-business-tax-climate-index

Bio-products group receives state ag grant

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By Tony Brown
Maryville Daily Forum

The newly formed Missouri BioProduct Producers Group of Burlington Junction has been awarded a $77,220 grant through the Missouri Department of Agriculture to assist in development of a feedstock supply operation that would provide raw material to a manufacturing facility now under development in northern Nodaway County.

According to a department release, the funding comes from the Missouri Value-Added Grant Program, which provides seed money for projects that advance development of Missouri agricultural products in ways that enhance economic growth in rural communities.

The producers group is working with California-based ChloroFill LLC, which plans to use hybridized sorghum as a component in the production of plywood-like construction panels.

Lee Langerock of Nodaway County Economic Development said the grant will be used to study the feasibility of creating a new business that would act as a conduit between farmers growing the sorghum and ChloroFill.

The set-up, she said, could eventually include a facility that would process raw sorghum into a production-ready form before delivering it to Chlorofill’s plant on Highway 71 north of Burlington Junction.

ChloroFill’s president and CEO, Michael Hurst, publicly announced plans to build the panel manufacturing facility last October during a breakfast gathering attended by numerous elected officials and members of the local business and agricultural communities.

Since then, the company has constructed a 5,400-square-foot building, which Langerock said has been tooled up sufficiently to complete production of sample panels for evaluation by potential customers. Sorghum for the test panels was grown on a 90-acre plot at Northwest Missouri State University’s R.T. Wright Farm.

Langerock said the company has yet to begin hiring but has made substantial progress toward the start of commercial production, which will require seven to 10 employees.

Anticipated growth, she said, means the plant could provide production and materials handling jobs for three times that many people in about two years.

The plant is to manufacture a product trade-named DurahForm, which  consists of processed sorghum stalks fused together using a protein binder.

Produced in sheets, DurahForm is similar to high-grade plywood made from bamboo or exotic hardwoods but is manufactured without using formaldehyde, a toxic compound that has been linked to a number of health concerns, including cancer.

In announcing the start-up last year, Hurst said DurahForm applications include counter tops, wall and ceiling coverings, furniture, cabinetry, wainscoting, doors and flooring.

According to the state Agriculture Department, the producer’s group grant was one of 12 awarded statewide that ranged from $17,000 to $198,000, for a total of $808,838.

The grants are funded from the sale of tax credits and can be used for business planning purposes, such as feasibility studies and marketing plans. The maximum individual grant is $200,000 with a required 10 percent local cash match, which in the case of  Missouri BioProduct Producers was paid by Nodaway County Economic Development.

Read more: http://www.maryvilledailyforum.com/article/20130807/NEWS/130809299#ixzz2bOPzaw6N

 

United Fiber bringing high-speed internet to NWMO

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July 16, 2013

United Electric Cooperative is a partner in the MoBroadbandNow initiative; company is bringing high-speed access to nearly 5,500 homes in six counties

During visit to United Electric Cooperative in northwest Missouri, Gov. Nixon highlights success of broadband initiative

SAVANNAH, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon today visited United Electric Cooperative in Savannah to highlight the success of Missouri’s public/private partnership in expanding broadband. United Electric, a partner in the Governor’s MoBroadbandNow initiative, is installing 1,230 fiber miles throughout the six counties it serves in northwest Missouri as part of its UnitedFiber project.

During visit to United Electric Cooperative in northwest Missouri, Gov. Nixon highlights success of broadband initiative.United Electric Cooperative is a partner in the MoBroadbandNow initiative; company is bringing high-speed access to nearly 5,500 homes in six counties.

“To continue Missouri’s economic growth, we must make sure businesses and communities have access to broadband services so that they can stay competitive and successful in today’s global economy,” Gov. Nixon said. “That’s why the MoBroadbandNow initiative is helping local providers in rural Missouri and throughout the state connect their customers with broadband access. I congratulate United Electric on its accomplishments, and I thank them for their commitment to northwest Missouri.”

Gov. Nixon launched the MoBroadbandNow initiative in 2009 to greatly expand broadband to reach more homes, businesses, schools, health care facilities, and public safety agencies. Over the next few years, Missouri will see a total investment of more than $310 million to expand broadband throughout the state, through a combination of federal, state, local and private sector resources, including more than $192 million in competitive federal funding obtained by the state of Missouri and its private and local partners.

United Electric Cooperative worked closely with state officials through MoBroadbandNow and was awarded $21 million in grants and loans in competitive federal funding. The United Electric Cooperative broadband project will bring high speed internet access to nearly 5,500 households and local schools in northwest Missouri.

Once the UnitedFiber project is finished, nearly 95 percent of the homes in United’s service area will have high-speed access, compared to less than 38 percent when the project was launched. The project is projected to create or retain more than 100 jobs in the area.

To learn more about the MoBroadbandNow initiative, visit MO.gov.

Northwest CIE Welcomes Technology Start-up BlurPort LLC

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MARYVILLE, Mo. – The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) at NorthwestMissouriStateUniversity has entered into an agreement with BlurPort LLC, the University and company announced Friday.

The company was founded last fall by Northwest student Aakash Patel to develop the BlurPort, an innovative secure USB data storage device that operates in unison with smart phones to enhance user verification.

Under the terms of the agreement, approved by the University’s Board of Regents, BlurPort will lease an office in the CIE. Patel said BlurPort will use the space for development and testing. The company also plans to utilize the expertise of Northwest students and faculty for assistance with marketing, business plan development and computer software development. Read more →

Agri-Tech Company Announces Launch of North American Development in Missouri

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Northwest Missouri State University CIE welcomes Missouri Moisture Analyzers LLC to Maryville

MARYVILLE, Mo. – The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) at NorthwestMissouriStateUniversity has entered into an agreement with Missouri Moisture Analyzers LLC, the University and company announced today.

Missouri Moisture Analyzers LLC is an agriculture-technology company that builds and calibrates moisture control analyzers used in agriculture production and grain storage. Missouri Moisture Analyzers plans to sell, assemble and maintain equipment and service contracts in the United States, Mexico and Central America. Read more →

GPI Announcement

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Global Prospective Investments LLC announces formation 
to encourage business growth in Nodaway County

MARYVILLE, Mo. – A local group of individuals have banded together to form a unique partnership. Global Prospective Investment LLC (GPI) is a newly formed angel investment group interested in developing value added products and technologies.

Currently, focused on Nodaway County, the group has sincere interest in helping to support and promote business development in cooperation with Northwest Missouri State University’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) and Nodaway County Economic Development.

GPI’s mission is to promote northwest Missouri’s people, products and services to create jobs and develop value-added technologies. Read more →