Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Braven Environmental, a leader in deriving fuel from landfill-bound plastic, will invest $31.7 million to establish a manufacturing operation in Cumberland County’s shell building. Virginia successfully competed with North Carolina and South Carolina for the project, which will create 52 new jobs. This is the first economic development announcement for Cumberland County since 2009.
“Braven Environmental will bring well-paid job opportunities to the citizens of Cumberland County while lessening our overall environmental footprint in the years to come,” said Governor Northam. “Providing the business environment and infrastructure to attract operations of this kind to rural Virginia is critical to our efforts to generate economic growth in all corners of the Commonwealth. Our economy is hurting right now, and these new jobs will have a great impact in the region.”
Braven Environmental uses the science of pyrolysis, not incineration, to break down waste plastics with minimal emissions. The output can be used to create new plastics or as fuel produced with much lower carbon emissions than traditional oil or gas production. Braven Environmental’s new plant will stop waste plastics from entering landfills, oceans, and waterways, while also reducing Virginia’s greenhouse gas emissions by ending the impact of long distance transportation used in current waste plastic solutions. Braven Environmental is committed to hiring locally and providing good jobs in the Cumberland County community. The company plans to create a total of over 80 new jobs within 18 months of the first phase of this project.
“Job creation announcements are especially important as we work to repair the economic impacts of COVID-19,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Braven Environmental’s decision to establish its new fuel manufacturing operation in Cumberland County is an exciting win for the Commonwealth, and it underscores the competitive advantages available to industry-leading companies in the Southside Virginia. We welcome Braven to the Commonwealth, and we look forward to working together to ensure Virginia is proactively reducing its carbon footprint.”
“Braven’s decision to develop its next site in Virginia as part of its planned U.S. expansions was driven by the state’s pro-business and innovation economy, and the fact that Virginia sees an enormous amount of waste that is either transported long distance for processing or ends up in local landfills,” said Nick Canosa, President and CEO of Braven Environmental. “With this facility, we’re looking forward to working hand-in-hand with Cumberland County to address the existing plastic waste issue with proven technology, while bringing long-term jobs to the community.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Cumberland County and Virginia’s Growth Alliance to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Northam approved a $150,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Cumberland County with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission approved $65,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the project, and funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
“Cumberland County’s Board of Supervisors is proud to welcome Braven Environmental to the County,” said Chairman of the Cumberland County Board of Supervisors Brian Stanley. “Through the diligent work of our Economic Development Authority, opportunity and prosperity has been delivered.”
“Braven’s investment and development of technology to transform a global problem into a clean fuel solution is revolutionary,” said Chairman of the Cumberland County Economic Development Authority Fred Shumaker. “This type of forward thinking not only reduces the use of traditional fuels, therefore lowering the state’s carbon footprint, but also reduces the volume of waste in the environment. This is a great win for Virginia and her environment, but specifically for Cumberland County.”
“Braven Environmental’s investment is a gamechanger for Cumberland County and these new jobs will change lives in Southside Virginia,” said Congressman Denver Riggleman. “I am very excited about this announcement and the potential of the project. Braven brings an innovative technology project that will increase prosperity in Cumberland and reduce carbon emissions in Virginia.”
“This reaffirms that Virginia’s current policies toward business and growth are attractive to commercial interests,” said Senator Mark Peake. “Beyond the much-needed jobs that Braven Environmental will provide, the total impact on Cumberland is almost unimaginable. I am very excited about how this project will bolster local government, generate growth in area businesses, and offer new educational opportunities in Cumberland County Public Schools. I welcome Braven Environmental and offer my support in my capacity in the Senate of Virginia.”
“We are always looking for innovative businesses to join our community here in Cumberland County and Southern Virginia, and Braven Environmental is exactly that,” said Delegate Thomas Wright. “I am pleased that Virginia was able to successfully compete against other states for this project, and I believe that our strong business climate and more-than-capable workforce will play a strong role in the success of this new venture.”