YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Two weeks ago we shared with you the story of SOBE Energy Solutions coming to Youngstown. They plan to take over the former Youngstown Thermal Plant on North Avenue. Thursday, CEO David Ferro met with members of the city’s Public Utilities Committee to explain what his company is doing.
Ferro explained how he plans to help provide steam to many buildings in Youngstown. He wants to turn solid waste like tires and plastics into energy.
“We want to recapture that energy and reuse it and a permanent removal of tires and plastics that waste from the planet,” said Ferro.
Ferro said they aren’t burning tires. They convert it into a gas, then burn the gas. The plan Ferro said is to create enough energy to heat and cool the downtown area, and he said it’s clean energy.
“Cause I know this is important to everyone, our emissions are equal to or better than burning natural gas,” said Ferro.
But one concern was brought up about the other remaining elements.
“When it’s being emitted into the environment, I understand CO2 is a big one. But what about all the other nasty elements found within plastic?” said Natalie Lasky.
Ferro said they plan to neutralize those elements. SOBE does plan on using natural gas as a secondary form of energy.
Ferro also said this will bring about 150 jobs to the area and help prevent outages.
“We all are familiar with the power issues we are having but having the power directly here in the city will provide tremendous value to the city long term,” said Ferro.
Ferro said he’s been in contact with the Ohio EPA but retired Youngstown Battalion Chief Sil Caggiano said otherwise.
“I’ve got a letter that was sent to me Tuesday from the assistant director of permitting and operations that says he has no contact with you. Zero contact with you,” said Caggiano.
Ferro denied that claim and said he has been in contact with a person at the Ohio EPA Twinsburg office.
In the end, one resident requested a public hearing from members of council.
“But we need a lot more data and we need your technical people in here in front of the public. So can we get a public hearing?” said Lynn Anderson.
Councilman Mike Ray said they do plan to work with the public and get them information as needed.