BATESVILLE, ARKANSAS (KAIT)
Tracking Region Eight's economy--with it's production of bio diesel, the "Future Fuels Chemical Company" in Batesville is looking ahead to the demands for cleaner fuel.
Now with the help of a **big** stimulus grant, the chemical company is *charging* ahead.
One half of this huge chemical plant is devoted to the manufacture of bio diesel.
The other half is dedicated to the manufacture of chemical products of one type or another.
Soon more structure will be added to the maze of piping as the company gears up for an electrifying new project.
Gary Hess is the Vice President in charge of sales for the company. We stood on a hill overlooking the plant spread out beneath us. I asked him what the primary products were.
"We make the Biodiesel product, we make custom manufactured chemicals as well as propritery products."
You won't see the Future Fuels logo on anything but the bio-deisel they sell at the plant but it's products are in a lot of items.
Recently the company received a 12.6 million dollar grant. The grant will enable the company to pay for part of the future.
Hess, "To be a part of the electric car industry making the lithium ion battery. We're working with a customer to produce the anode portion of the lithium ion battery. "
Hess couldn't disclose which manufacturer they were working with, but the battery will be used in cars like the Volt and other all electric cars as well as hybrids.
The primary use of the stimulus money as well as matching funds from the company will be used to change up the plant.
Hess, "We're gonna add additional equipment be able to change logistics to be able to handle the incoming product. We're gonna take their process and put it into our plant."
The company didn't develop the product they are simply the large scale tool in which it will be manufactured.
With expansion comes jobs, both in the plant itself and on the outside support as well.
Hess, "It's significant to us as well as the community from potentially adding people to support that as well as the infrastructure, we have to add contractors and people to support business."
Hess says there are a lot of factors riding on this new product. It depends on a large client base, namely us the American consumer.
Hess, "Actually we're going to work with our customer in order to develop how soon he needs product that's going to be driven a lot by the electric car industry in general as to how we buy cars out of the market."
It seems like making batteries for new electric vehicles is not that big of a deal.
But Hess told me Future Fuels received just one of nearly 30 grants given out for the battery building and control.