A Michigan company that converts industrial waste items into an alternative fuel source for the region’s cement manufacturers has invested US$7m to expand its Dorchester plant.
Geocycle U.S. said the addition will enable it to increase production by about one third. Completed last week, the expansion is expected to create about 20 jobs over the next few months, the company said.
The project included a new building at the fuel maker’s property at 2425 U.S. Highway 78 in Dorchester County.
Dundee, Mich.-based Geocycle takes in waste from industries around the Southeast that can’t or don’t want to send the refuse to landfills or incinerators. The company shreds the solid materials and processes them into a fuel source that offsets the use of coal needed to power the cluster of cement kilns in upper Dorchester and lower Orangeburg counties.
Among the more than 500 waste items the company can recycle are inks, used oils, plastics, carpeting, unused diaper trimmings and textiles.
The company’s customers include the Holly Hill cement plant owned by its parent, Holcim Inc.
Geocycle is expanding now in anticipation of a rebound in cement production, which has been down sharply because of the impact of the recession on the construction business.
"That’s part of it," said Geocycle spokesman Jason Bucholz. "The other part of it is the success we’ve had within that market. Companies are responding very favorably, even in a down-turned economy, to having sustainable means to dispose of their waste materials."
Geocycle formerly was known as Energis LLC, which was formed in 2002 and entered the South Carolina market that same year when it bought a fuel-processing business near Holcim’s Holy Hill plant from Safety-Kleen Systems. Energis landed in Dorchester in 2007 with its purchase of Vexor Technology.
Geocycle now has nine locations around the country. It plans to mark the completion of its new addition at a ribbon-cutting ceremony next week.