Plastics-to-fuel plant to be built in Ashley, 136 jobs expected

Local News

ASHLEY, Ind. (WANE) Ground was broken Wednesday morning on what’s described as a first of its kind plant that will turn plastic waste into fuel.

Brightmark Energy, a San Francisco based waste and energy development company, is building the plant in Ashley which is located just west of I-69 near the county line of Steuben and DeKalb counties.

According to Brightmark, the plant will turn plastics that can’t ordinarily be recycled like plastic film, styrofoam and children’s toys into ultra-low sulfur diesel, naptha blend stocks and commericial grade wax. That is the kind of wax often found in candles, but it’s also used as a coating on cardboard boxes and “many other things,” according to Brightmark.

When fully operational, the 112,000 square foot facility is expected to employ 136 full time employees. That’s expected to happen in mid-to-late 2021.

Evenutally Brightmark hopes the technology it’s developing will be able to produce material necessary for manufacturing plastic, creating what is described as the “world’s first truly circular economy for plastics.” 

Brightmark expects to initially convert approximately 100,000 tons of plastics into over 18 million gallons of diesel and naptha blend stocks while also producing nearly six million gallons a year of commercial grade wax.  

The fuel produced by the plant will be purchased by BP and AM WAX will buy the commercial grade waxes.

“As a global energy business, BP is focused on the dual challenge of meeting society’s rising energy needs while reducing carbon emissions,” said Amy McKerns, Director of business development for BP Integrated Supply & Trading. “Our relationship with Brightmark Energy highlights the vital role that innovation and technology will play in driving the transition to a lower-carbon future – and the many and unique opportunities that will come with it.”

As an incentive to get Brightmark to build in Ashley, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered up to $900,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $100,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans.  Brightmark is not eligible to claim the incentives until Indiana workers are hired.

The hiring process will begin as the plant nears completion. 

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