December 2014

AVAPCO, LLC

THE PROJECT

In December 2014, AMCREF Community Capital provided $9.75 million of NMTC financing to American Process Conversion Technologies, LLC, a subsidiary of AVAPCO, LLC. AVAPCO is an existing biomass research, development and demonstration facility located in rural severely distressed Thomaston, GA and owned and operated by American Process, Inc (API). AVAPCO is in a rural census tract suffering from high unemployment (21.3%), high poverty (33%) and low median family incomes (47.2%). AVAPCO is bringing high quality manufacturing jobs to a predominantly blue collar workforce. In 2006, API began self-funded research and development of sugar technologies derived from non-food based biomass waste, or discarded plant material. AVAPCO has developed a one-of-a-kind process that cost-effectively breaks down biomass into both sugar for ethanol production and nanocellulose. Nanocellulose is an incredibly versatile material that could replace a variety of petroleum-derived plastics with biomass, including those used in paints, cosmetics, construction materials and parts for automobiles and aircraft.

COMMUNITY IMPACT

  • Job Creation and Support: 118 direct FTEs, including 55 created and 63 retained, and 39 direct construction jobs. Excellent wages average well above the local living wage. AVAPCO provides full benefits, extensive training and subsidized enrollment at local technical colleges.
  • Environmental Benefits: Nanocellulose is a transformative sustainable product that can effectively replace petroleum-based plastics, with thousands of applications ranging from medical, automotive, aerospace, and military. By using waste biomass, AVAPCO will contribute to the reduction of 5B tons of biomass waste created globally annually. Nanocellulose is compostable and carbon neutral, conserving an estimated 2.13 tons of greenhouse gases per ton produced.
  • Community Support and Impacts: AVAPCO provides high paying skilled jobs to a rural community with extremely high unemployment and very low median family incomes. Approximately 50% of FTEs were hired from within the community and are well-suited to LIPs / LIC residents (require only a high school degree or trade school). AVAPCO has a strong partnership with the local vocational school.
  • Economic / Catalytic Effects: Strongly supported by regional economic development and community leaders, including the Upson County Board, Thomaston City Manager and the local industrial development authority. Success of AVAPCO’s nanocellulose production will lead to commercial scale projects and technology licensing, supporting future expansion and economic growth, including the potential to repurpose closed and/or endangered pulp and paper mills across the US.