Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority

DALTON, Ga. — A new business in Whitfield County plans to turn 400,000 tons of carpet waste into synthetic crude oil.

“We are very excited to be here,” Brett KenCairn, president of Community Energy Systems, told the Dalton-Whitfield County Joint Development Authority on Wednesday. “When we started looking for waste carpet, all roads pointed to Dalton.”

The Joint Development Authority passed a resolution Wednesday authorizing the company to sell tax-free bonds worth $13 million.

KenCairn said the money will be used to build a facility at the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority and to purchase equipment to extract plastic from the carpet waste and then turn the plastic into crude oil.

The company plans to raise about $10 million through selling bonds and will invest about $2.5 million of its own in the project, he said.

The Georgia division of the business will be known as Clean Energy Conversions and would employ about 20 people. Company officials hope to begin operations by early 2013, KenCairn said.

The company has worked to perfect the extraction process over the past year, he said. “It is a very sophisticated extraction process but we have proved it is viable.”

The authority has about 400,000 tons of carpet waste it has storing since the 1990s, according to Executive Director Norman Barashick.

Once Clean Energy Conversions builds its facility, the authority will provide access to the carpet waste and facilitate transferring incoming waste to the new business.

“We have the largest stockpile of carpet waste in the United States,” Barashick said. “We’ve always believed there would eventually be some sort of value in the waste.”

KenCairn said the facility would launch with the conversion of carpet waste, but eventually would include other plastic waste. The conversion process uses plastic Nos. 3 through 7, which are not easily recyclable.

Elyse Cochran, executive director of the authority, said Dalton has received numerous inquiries from companies interested in recycling the carpet waste, but Clean Energy Conversions has shown it has the technology to move forward.

“We have been very impressed by the company,” Cochran said. “They are established and have proven they have the technology. This will diversify our job base.”