GOED board approves tax breaks to bring recycling companies to Nevada

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development board on Thursday approved tax breaks that will bring two major recycling businesses to Northern Nevada.

Ryze Renewables makes 100 percent renewable diesel fuel from distiller’s corn oil and other non-food feedstock.

Aqua Metals Reno is a high-tech battery recycling business that uses a proprietary process not involving a smelter that opened in July at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center east of Reno.

Ryze CEO Matthew Pearson said this is the first phase of what will be a $100 million diesel plant at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center in Storey County.

He said they’re planning to bring or hire 117 people with average wages in the $26 an hour range. The initial phase of the plant, he said, will produce 2,000 barrels of fuel a day.

Pearson said there’s a huge unmet demand for his diesel fuel which burns much cleaner than regular fuel with little carbon emissions — more than meeting the increasingly tough California and federal emission standards.

Ryze will get tax incentives worth an estimated $7 million over the next decade and is expected to install some $66.5 million worth of equipment in its facility at TRIC.

Thomas Murphy of Aqua Metals said their plant will recycle lead-acid batteries using a unique electrochemical process.

“The only way today to do it is with smelters which pollute and, in some countries in the world, it’s disgusting the way they do it,” he told the board headed by Gov. Brian Sandoval.

Murphy said there’s only one western states battery recycling plant — in southern California — and it’s under increasing pressure to stop smelting. He said a lot of the business is going to Mexico. Murphy added there are only 13 smelters left in the U.S.

Once in operation, he said the plant will recycle 80 tons of lead a day as well as the acid, plastic and other components of the batteries — quite a bit of it from the Battery Systems plant right next door.

Aqua Metals, he said, will pay an average hourly wage of $22.58 and provide 100 percent of the cost of employee benefits.

The company will get about $3.7 million in tax breaks for its $12.7 million investment in Reno.

The board also voted an estimated $273,504 worth of tax abatements for a unique company that provides goods to jail and prison inmates.

Walkenhorst sends packages to inmates in a variety of institutions. Gary Walkenhorst said shopping is available online or through the company’s paper catalog or family members can shop for inmates.

“We kind of have an interesting niche,” said Walkenhorst, spokesman for the company.

He said it started with providing radios, small TVs and such things 20 years ago but has grown to provide “anything inmates were allowed to use in their cell.”

He said that means anything from shoes to candy bars.

The company has grown to more than 100 employees, all of whom are extensively background checked.

Walkenhorst told the board security is tight to the point as items are packaged for shipment, the inmate’s name and institution aren’t on the box — just an ID number that’s decoded by the officials at the prison when the box arrives.

“I didn’t know your business existed,” said Gov. Brian Sandoval.

The company is planning to open its new center in Spanish Springs. It pays an average of $24.54 an hour.

Finally, Cimpress also won tax breaks to come to Northern Nevada. The company prints custom products on everything from banners to T-shirts to foam beer holders.

“If you print on it, we make it,” said a company official. The company will get $1.3 million in tax breaks for opening a major plant in the Reno area with 50 employees to start. Officials say this is their first plant in the U.S.


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