The Chicago Clean Energy Project


 The project is the brainchild of Dave Hagen (left) and Hoyt Hudson (right).

The project is the brainchild of Dave Hagen (left) and Hoyt Hudson (right).

Leucadia National Corporation is considered to be a mini-Berkshire Hathaway by the investment community. Traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol LUK, the holding company has interests in mining, manufacturing, real estate, healthcare and wineries, as well as the development of three other gasification plants. Currently, they have similar projects to the Chicago plant underway in Indiana, Mississippi and Louisiana. In 2011, the company had a market capital rating of around $8 billion.

The Chicago project was actually the brainchild of two entrepreneurs who eight years ago created Eco-Industrial Development, LLC and embarked on what has become a very long and often frustrating process. Dave Hagen and Hoyt Hudson envisioned opportunities for developing such a plant and realized that while Illinois has some of the largest known coal reserves in the U.S., its high sulfur content and pollution potential made it unsuitable for traditional combustion practices. Eventually, their hard work and solid business plan attracted the keen eye of Leucadia executives who took a position in the project and retained the two as Project Managers for the Chicago Clean Energy, LLC.

Hagen and Hudson escorted us on a recent tour of the site and explained in detail about plans for the new facility. Most traces of the former LTV metallurgical coking plant have been razed from the site and only a portion of the land is now used for bulk storage of salt and ice melt. Walking the grounds is somewhat surreal and you get the feeling that you have landed on some post-apocalyptic ground with concrete remnants. It would make a great place for a massive laser tag game if you weren’t so concerned about what chemicals may have been dumped over the years into the ground beneath your feet.

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Posted by on Apr 2nd, 2012 and filed under Feature Story. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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