Schmack BioEnergy to develop biomass facility

   Schmack BioEnergy plans to develop an anaerobic digester operation on a portion of the former Columbia Portland Cement property off of U.S. 22 between White Cottage and East Fultonham. The company received a USD 500.000 grant and USD 1 million loan commitment from the U.S. Department of Agriculture last summer to be used toward the Zanesville project.

   According to plans filed and approved by the Mid-East Ohio Building Department, Schmack will be issued eight permits for the operation, which is designed to accept municipal waste products that would usually be incinerated or hauled to landfills.

   Anaerobic digestion is a natural process where microorganisms break down organic waste materials (biomass) in the absence of oxygen. The biosolids are extracted from the waste and the resulting biogas can be used for power generation via electric or natural gas, and could also be used to make compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel for vehicles.

   "This is part of the state's alternative energy plans and it's an absolutely fantastic project for southeast Ohio and the Muskingum County area," added Jerry Nolder, executive director of the Zanesville-Muskingum County Port Authority.