Innovative Chicago Organization Breaks Ground on Biogas System
The Plant to Break Ground on Renewable Energy System
For Immediate Release
October 29, 2012
CHICAGO—Work is about to begin on The Plant’s anaerobic digestion system, a critical component to The Plant’s goal of being a sustainable, net-zero energy vertical farm and food business operation.
To mark the historic occasion, a groundbreaking ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9, at The Plant, located in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood. In attendance will be Chicago’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Karen Weigert; Alderman Pat Dowell; President Mark West of the Eisenmann Corporation; and Senior Loan/Program Officer Mark Fick of the Chicago Community Loan Fund, a lender for the project.
Once completed, the Eisenmann anaerobic digester will divert 5,000 tons of organic waste from landfills annually to produce a methane-based biogas. This biogas will be fed to a generator that will produce electricity and heat for the building and its businesses. This process will require no additional use of fossil fuels.
The Plant, which operates in a 93,500 sq. ft. repurposed meatpacking facility, is a food-focused project, featuring 30,000 sq. ft. of planned aquaponic growing systems and 27,000 sq. ft dedicated to artisanal, sustainable food production. The installation of the renewable energy system provides low-cost electricity and heat, while the reuse of food-grade building materials allows for reduced rent and business incubation. The Plant aims to create 125 jobs in an economically distressed neighborhood and provide a healthy source of food in an area that’s been classified as a fresh food desert by the USDA.
This project has been awarded generous grants by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Food Scrap Composting Revitalization and Advancement Program (F-SCRAP) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). It has also been supported by a loan from the Chicago Community Loan Fund.
Information and high-resolution pictures, which will track the construction progress, will be available on the Eisenmann website for your use. Tours of The Plant are offered every Monday, Thursday and Saturday at 2 p.m. More information about tours can be found here.
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