BRIDGEPORT — After purchasing Bridgeport Biodiesel last year, Bronx, N.Y. -based Tri-State Biodiesel is expanding the company’s West End footprint.
On Friday, the business held an unofficial groundbreaking ceremony for a 12,000-square-foot addition to the existing Bridgeport Biodiesel facility on Andover Street.
With the added capacity, the company’s workforce will increase from five employees to 25 next year. Construction should begin within the next 60 days and is expected to last about six months, according to Robert Hauer, plant manager for the Bridgeport facility.
“We’re adding a couple hundred thousand gallons of biodiesel storage, making it a central hub for distribution of biodiesel in the region,” said Brent Baker, CEO at Tri-State Biodiesel.
The $4 million project is being financed with help from a $2.5 million loan from the National Development Council‘s Grow America Fund. The fund also partnered with the JPMorgan Chase Foundation‘s Collaboratives Program.
Tri-State Biodiesel manufactures the biofuel by mixing recycled cooking oil with methanol or ethanol. Production of the biofuel in the city will increase from 3 million gallons a year to 10 million gallons a year with the new addition.
Mayor Bill Finch said when then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed a law in New York City two years ago instituting a 2 percent biodiesel requirement throughout the city, he created a market for the biofuel. A more recent law also required that the city’s fleet of cars use a 5 percent blend of biodiesel with diesel fuel.
“There is a market created in New York City to turn what was waste into a resource,” he said.
Baker, who shares Finch’s passion for sustainability initiatives, said Bridgeport was chosen for the company’s latest expansion because it is strategically located between New York City and Boston. Baker looked forward to being a part of the city’s Eco-Technology Park, a zone consisting of green industrial businesses.
Bill Malone, founder of Enviro Express, which has a natural gas fueling station in Bridgeport, praised the city for creating the zone, noting that being in proximity allows the businesses to help each other. He noted the biodiesel is transported to other states by trucks that run on natural gas.
“By bringing us together in the same zone, we’re able to help each other,” he said.
Finch said the newest tenant to join the Eco-Technology Park will be the Green Depot, which will bring in 70 new jobs. The company makes building materials out of recycled materials.
firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-330-6321, http://twitter.com/ktorresbpt