Global Energy Power Plant for Lima, Ohio, to Break Ground in December

LIMA, Ohio -- Global Energy is still on track to break ground on its proposed power station in south Lima in December, a company official told business leaders Friday.

Dwight Lockwood, regulatory affairs manager and senior vice president, said the big pieces of equipment wouldn't show up until 12 to 18 months into the three-year construction period. He said the plant's value has risen to $575 million, with the first foundations starting in December.

"They're on the schedule for early December to get started on that first foundation," Lockwood said. The company still has relatively minor hurdles to clear; it must sign a contract with a coal supplier to power its gasifiers, and it must get a permit amendment from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio's Power Siting Board to locate the station at the former Lima Locomotive Works.

The amendment has been studied by PUCO and returned to the board without comment, Lockwood said. All that remains is a board meeting to vote on the amendment, he said.

Lockwood ran through a presentation about the plant during the Lima-Allen County Chamber of Commerce's Wake, Rattle & Roll meeting. The presentation included a site map showing buildings and railroad tracks running through the 67-acre site, along with representations of some of the buildings.

He also showed molecular-level photographs of carbon nanofibers, a potential product made from the synthetic gas the company will produce. While most of the gas will drive electricity-producing turbines, some can be compressed into a gas as potent as natural gas, while some can be used to manufacture the nanofibers, considered much stronger than steel but much lighter, as well.

Lockwood said other companies could use those nanofibers in cutting-edge technology.

"We think that can happen right here," he said.

He also talked about the potential for hiring, saying candidates need to be able to communicate well and be comfortable in a computerized or automated environment.

Once completed, the plant, which will be known as Lima Energy, will convert coal and petroleum coke into synthetic gas using a high-heat process known as gasification. There is no combustion; rather, the elements are broken down, with sulfur extracted and inert solids left behind to be sold as frit for asphalt or other products.