CHP systems maker creating 125 jobs in St. Augustine, Fla.

By Environmental Entrepreneurs

Four years ago, 2G Bio-Energy Technologies Corp., a leading German manufacturer of highly efficient, advanced combined-heat-and-power (CHP) systems that can help business and other facilities reduce their energy bills, identified an opportunity to expand into the U.S. market.

While more than 80 gigawatts of CHP capacity – the equivalent of more than 130 coal power plants – is currently in use at factories and buildings across the country, the United States has significant potential to increase deployment of these technologies. The formation of U.S.-based 2G-CENERGY soon followed.

After purchasing a 60,000-square-foot facility in St. Augustine, Fla., 2G-CENERGY announced in April 2012 that it would be establishing a production line and hiring up to 125 workers over the next four years. With its proximity to major ports, a long list of local suppliers, and a workforce with manufacturing expertise, St. Augustine made an ideal place to locate the company’s operations.

2G-CENERGY’s investment in St. Johns County was well-received. As Florida Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope said at the time of the announcement, “2G’s expansion will greatly benefit Florida as well as St. Augustine, and we welcome this enhancement to both the local and state economy.”

The chairman of the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners, Mark P. Miner, added, “The project will provide significant economic benefits to St. Johns County through the high number of well-paying, new jobs to be created and commercial tax base to be generated, and will complement the growing number of businesses in the County.

Starting in Sept. 2012, the company hired 50 employees and now has its production line partially up and running. 2G-CENERGY’s President and CEO Michael J. Turitt believes the company will be able to reach its targets, including its hiring goals, much faster than originally projected. The company is already looking at expanding operations into an adjacent property it purchased next to the facility.

2G-CENERGY’s reliable and cost-effective CHP technologies are already helping businesses across the country reduce their energy bills. Like other CHP technologies, 2G-CENERGY’s systems reduce energy use for businesses and others by simultaneously generating electricity and useful thermal energy, such as steam, from a single fuel source.

The company specializes in designing and manufacturing “plug-and-play” or “connection-ready” systems, which allow for faster and lower-cost installation at facilities than specially engineered systems. 2G’s CHP systems can typically be installed in a day or two, and with almost a push of a button they can be ready for use immediately.

Their systems are also extremely energy efficient, producing energy for facilities at efficiencies of around 90 percent – far more efficient than conventional power plants, which supply energy at efficiencies of 50 percent or lower on average and lose more than half the energy they could be providing as wasted heat. This results in not only energy bill savings, but also less pollution that impacts communities.

“We are the only one in the U.S. that is coming with this model of a complete, modular CHP plug-and play system that will save customers at least half the investment, and we can have it up and running immediately,” said Turitt.

Clients are already reporting big benefits from the systems. For example, a manufacturer in Texas who bought two of the company’s systems a year ago would have been out of business if not for installing this type of new technology. The manufacturer is saving $40,000 a month in energy costs, which will help it quickly pay back its initial investment.

2G-CENERGY believes that with the right policies in place to improve energy efficiency, CHP technologies could help many other businesses significantly reduce their energy bills and increase their competitive edge. President Obama’s executive order on increasing industrial energy efficiency, which was issued in the fall of 2012 and set a national goal of increasing CHP by 40 GW by 2020, was a good start in focusing more attention on increased deployment, Turitt said. The company hopes that policymakers will follow suit.

“Even one small change in legislation to support CHP and the market would explode,” said Turitt. “If our lawmakers could get their heads around the technology’s potential, think differently, we could have an energy revolution.”

In the meantime, 2G-CENERGY keeps moving full steam ahead in Florida.

“The market looks great, the future looks bright,” said Turitt.