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Minnesota-based Rational Energies MC Inc. has selected Manatee County as the location for the company’s first green energy manufacturing facility, according to Eric Basinger, executive director of the Manatee Economic Development Council (EDC). Rational Energies, which converts agricultural and municipal waste into synthetic crude oil, plans to hire 21 employees in Manatee County by early 2012.
The Manatee Board of County Commissioners recently approved $21,600 in performance-based incentives to match a $63,000 commitment from the State of Florida’s Qualified Tax Incentive program. To qualify for the incentives, the company must hire 21 employees through 2012 at an average wage that is 15 percent higher than the county average. Rational Energies’ renovation of an existing 36,000-square-foot facility in south Manatee County will be expedited through the county’s rapid response permitting program.
“We considered other locations in Florida, as well as Georgia and Tennessee, for our first production facility,” said Ed Driscoll, CEO at Rational Energies (www.rationalenergies.com). “Manatee County was the most desirable because it provided good access to waste materials we use in production, attractive lease rates, and a cooperative and pro-active county staff.”
“Rational Energies is a wonderful addition to Florida’s green industry sector,” Basinger said. “The company is seeking to become part of the solution to global challenges of dealing with municipal waste and creating sustainable transportation fuels. Manatee County also welcomes the manufacturing jobs that Rational Energies will bring.”
The EDC assisted the company in applying for economic development incentives and working with county government on facility permitting.
Rational Energies was formed in 2007 to produce and market valuable commodities, such as crude oil, which are derived from the material in municipal solid waste and agricultural residue. The company uses plastics that otherwise would go to a landfill and produces a very clean form of crude oil that refineries convert into high-value products like gasoline and diesel fuel, Driscoll said. The Manatee County plant will be the first in a global network of similar facilities, he said.
“We have an experienced technical and production team,” Driscoll said. “Our Manatee County plant will convert roughly 15,000 tons per year of waste plastics into 3 million gallons per year (71,000 barrels) of synthetic crude oil.”
The production process uses commercially available equipment that grinds plastic and then slowly heats it until it reverts to a liquid state. The process consumes very little water and all discharged water is first treated on site. The company’s plant was designed to have minimal impact on the site. No odor is associated, and noise and truck traffic is typical of a small manufacturing business.
Driscoll expects to complete hiring for the Manatee County plant by early 2012. Job candidates may inquire via email to
"The Rational Energies project is another example of how Manatee County's economic development incentives package is contributing directly to the creation of new, quality jobs here," said Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker. "Over time, those jobs are going to add significant value to our community."
A list of Manatee County's economic development incentives is available at www.mymanatee.org/econ_dev.
About the EDC
The Economic Development Council, a division of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce, develops and implements programs to attract new high-impact businesses and to assist in the retention and growth of targeted existing businesses in Manatee County. Information: www.ManateeEDC.com.
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