Edwardsburg business awarded funding from 2009 stimulus act

Published 9:49pm Thursday, May 31, 2012

EDWARDSBURG — There’s no sign identifying the May Street recipient of two business and industry guaranteed loans — $220,000 for purchase of real estate and the former Georgie Boy building and $1,136,328 to finance the purchase of machinery and equipment.

Funding came through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as stimulus, which explains Thursday’s presence of Doug O’Brien, deputy under secretary for Rural Development of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; James Turner, state director for USDA Rural Development; and a representative of Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chair of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee.

CRB Real Estate, LLC, spun off from 22-year-old CFB (Custom Formulating and Blending), LLC, in Bristol, Ind. CRB has four fulltime technical employees with backgrounds in chemistry or engineering.

Three activities occur at the Edwardsburg facility which, inside looks like a tiny Niles Tank Town: warehousing and repackaging of chemical products for distributors; manufacturing chemical products typically used in the metalworking industry for the Bristol facility and other distributors; and manufacturing vegetable-based glycerin.

They purchase soybean-based crude glycerin from the waste stream of a bio-diesel manufacturer south of Warsaw, Ind.

Utilizing a pre-treatment process, the 10-percent-water yellowish product is diluted and chemicals are added to help remove impurities, such as recoverable salt and fatty acid.

Then the multistep treatment process funded by USDA Rural Development removes impurities. A final evaporation step removes water from the glycerin solution to get to a 99.7 percent pure, clear product for sale that meets all USP (U.S. pharmaceutical grade) and Kosher requirements.

Pushing out 15,000 pounds of glycerin daily is being ramped up to 40,000.

A patent is pending on the process.

“It’s used in cosmetics, toothpaste, mouthwash, pharmaceutical products. It’s a good lubricant. There are 4,000 or 5,000 industrial uses for glycerin,” John Ray of Granger, Ind., said. “It’s used in bakeries to keep bread and pastries moist.”

When pets perished from dog food, contaminated glycerin from China was blamed.

“The White House Rural Council, which President Obama created last June, a month ago announced a set of initiatives to expand the bio-products market, particularly in rural places. It’s a growing, high-value industry and we did a number of things to make sure big purchasers like the Department of Defense look at bio-products,” O’Brien said.

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