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Red Hook biodiesel plant gets fuel to grow

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The city’s first biodiesel production facility in Red Hook received an injection of green this week. The New York City Industrial Development Agency (IDA) announced the approval of about $3.96 million in tax-exempt bonds and about $5.2 million in real estate and sales tax benefits for Tri State Biodiesel, LLC. The bond proceeds and tax benefits will be used to construct and equip a 12,900-square-foot manufacturing and warehouse facility, planned for the Gowanus Industrial Park at the Columbia Marine Terminal. Hawaii-based Pacific Biodiesel will construct the Red Hook facility, its 11th in the United States. Biodiesel is an environmentally-friendly alternative to diesel fuel. It is a cleaner burning fuel made from any fat or vegetable oil. All fuels made at the facility will be made from waste restaurant grease, which will be either donated or purchased. Tri-State has signed a 20-year lease at the industrial park, according to Biodiesel Magazine. “Quite reasonably, we could be in production by the summer,” Tri-State Biodiesel CEO Brent Baker has told this paper. Tri-State will initially produce 2.5 million gallons of the fuel in its first year, and plans to expand production to five million gallons the second year, Baker said. Baker told this paper that the biodiesel would be sold at local service stations and markets, and would also be sold to private fleets. The project is expected to retain and create 26 jobs. Pure biodiesel is more expensive than regular diesel fuel, and it is often sold as a cheaper blend. Its emissions are about 78 percent lower than regular diesel. Baker has said the operation will be devoid of any foul odors, as some feared. Kei Hayashi, IDA’s executive director, said the Tri-State Biodiesel project represents the “best of what IDA finance assistance can help achieve.” Hayashi said the project spurs investment and creates high-quality jobs, but also serves the local community, and will potentially “improve the quality of life of all New Yorkers.” The IDA, which is administered by the city’s Economic Development Corporation, provides financing assistance to businesses; issues tax exempt industrial revenue bonds to assist eligible businesses to finance expansion opportunities; and offers qualified companies abatements on sales, real estate and mortgage taxes. The IDA also approved approximately $46.5 million in tax-exempt bonds for the American Cancer Society, and $39 million in tax-exempt bond financing for the YMCA of Greater New York.

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