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News Jul 30, 2014 - 3:34:20 AM

USDA Grant Funds Second Phase of Bio-Energy Research Community Economic Development in CT

By Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Inc. (CCAT)

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EAST HARTFORD, CT - Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Inc. (CCAT), a non-profit economic development organization based in East Hartford, Conn., was awarded a Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) to work on Phase II of a project that will determine the feasibility of implementing an alternative fuels facility in rural north-central Connecticut. USDA Rural Development provided $53,000 for CCAT under the Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program for the second phase of the feasibility study in fiscal year 2014.

Phase I of the project, which was also funded under the RBEG program in fiscal year 2013, preliminarily established the feasibility of implementing an alternative fuels facility to be located in north-central Connecticut. In Phase II, the project team will look at refining details regarding operational aspects of the facility.

“CCAT will use the knowledge we’ve gained from Phase I of the project, and our research expertise in alternative fuels, to refine and develop implementation plans for operating an alternative fuels facility,” said Tom Maloney, Ph.D., director of technology, research and applications, CCAT. “We recognize the value of this study not only to help further economic development within Connecticut and the region but also to impact renewable energy production nationwide.”

It is projected that if the facility is constructed and becomes fully operational, short term construction jobs will approximate 1000-1200 and from 85 to 150 long-term jobs will be created to operate the facility. The surrounding communities will benefit as a result of the conversion of bio-waste and municipal waste into biofuels for the purpose of heating, aviation and other commercial fuel types.

"We are very excited about this project, not only because it has possibilities to lower our reliance on fossil fuels, but also to help local municipalities, farms, and businesses that could access more profitable markets with some waste products that are either unused or costly to send to environmentally inappropriate landfills," stated Jay Healy, state director, USDA Rural Development.

Due to the close proximity to Bradley International Airport, the alternative fuel plant could create residual job growth in rural north-central Connecticut in addition to those directly created or saved by the facility. The second phase of this study will build on the success of Phase I of the project, and provide a more precise roadmap for implementation of the biofuel manufacturing facility.

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