Home Business FusionOne seeks to build 2 plants in south LA, employ 250 | Business

FusionOne seeks to build 2 plants in south LA, employ 250 | Business

FusionOne seeks to build 2 plants in south LA, employ 250 | Business


A company that turns plastic waste and used tires into green hydrogen is seeking to invest nearly $100 million to build processing plants in Iberia Parish and New Orleans that would create 250 jobs.

The company, FusionOne, filed documents with Louisiana Economic Development earlier this month outlining its plans for the two facilities and requesting two state incentives: a property tax abatement under the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program and a Quality Jobs tax credit.

If the company moves forward with the plans, the processing plants could be up and running by early 2025, according to the filing.

The company hopes to make a final investment decision on the project by the end of the first quarter of 2024 and potentially sooner, FusionOne Executive Vice President Matthew Emory said.

“We have been evaluating the state for quite some time,” said Emory, whose company is based in Canada and Louisiana. “There is a lot that works in Louisiana’s favor with respect to this project and this product.”

Green hydrogen is a cleaner burning form of hydrogen that has a lower carbon footprint than traditional fossil fuels and can be used to power plants and refineries. The hydrogen processing plants in Louisiana would be FusionOne’s first full-scale facility using the technology.

The plans come as companies are racing to take advantage of tax credits under the Biden Administration’s Inflation Reduction Act that reward investments in renewable forms of energy, according to Greg Upton, interim director of the LSU Center for Energy Studies.

“The Inflation Reduction Act subsidizes technologies that are likely to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. “That is sort of the broad background of what you see going on here.”

The Iberia Parish facility would be at the Port of Iberia would be the smaller of the two at $35 million. It calls for 154 total jobs with 119 new jobs with a $10 million total payroll at the facility, which would include structures to house tires and plastics and equipment for the conversion process.

The Port of Iberia has four vertical structures that would need significant deterred maintenance and retrofitting, the application indicated. The company will also build inland and maritime fueling station and storage facilities at the site, which will include gas turbines, reactors, gas storage containers and other equipment.

FusionOne would utilize the Acadia Gulf of Mexico Access Channel, which is being dredged 16 feet to accommodate heavier traffic in and out of the Gulf of Mexico, officials said. All pipelines along the channel should be lowered this year, which would allow dredging to begin.

The company’s local facility would be located at the Port of New Orleans and create 130 new jobs with an annual payroll of nearly $16 million, plus 45 construction jobs.

According to plans filed with LED, FusionOne would build four structures at the port. Two buildings would house equipment, a third would house the company’s patented processor, which breaks down the plastics and tires and converts them to hydrogen, and a fourth would be used to capture and store carbon.

Though developing green hydrogen from plastics is a relatively new technology, it is a proven one, Upton said.

“The challenge has been to make these advanced recycling technologies affordable,” he said. “That’s why the tax credits that are available through the Inflation Reduction Act are such an important part of this.”

The state tax incentives are an important factor also, according to Emory. He would not say if a final investment decision is dependent on securing the ITEP and Quality Jobs incentive but said “we are weighing a lot of things.”

Under the state’s ITEP, manufacturers are eligible for an 80% property tax break for up to 10 years if the parish or city council, parish school board and parish sheriff all approve the request. Under the Quality Jobs program, companies can receive a cash rebate of up to 6% of annual payroll expenses for 10 years.

“Those programs do weigh heavily in a company’s decision,” Upton said.

If FusionOne does open in Iberia Parish, it would be another large employer to announce plans to move there in the past 12 months. The First Solar solar panel manufacturing facility is expected to create 700 jobs, and Turner Industries could add another 600 jobs to its current 400 at its Gulf of Mexico Operations center.

A planned biopharmaceutical manufacturing cluster in conjunction with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s New Iberia Research Station could land another 400 jobs.

Adam Daigle contributed to this report. 


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