[caption id="attachment_31218" align="alignleft" width="250"]<img class="size-full wp-image-31218" src="https:\/\/mountainmedianews.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/13\/2018\/01\/Biochar-pic.jpg" alt="" width="250" height="180" \/> (Photo courtesy www.biochar.info)<br \/>Biochar will be produced at the Sam Black plant, an organic fertilizer.[\/caption]\r\n<h1>During the Jan. 23 Greenbrier County Commission meeting, a crowd of concerned residents from the Sam Black area attended to hear a presentation by Jason Perry, a representative of PPD of WV One, a development entity that works with Proton Power technology.<\/h1>\r\nThe company is working to build a facility in the Sam Black region that will turn slash, byproducts left from logging operations, into low-sulphur diesel fuel. The diesel fuel produced by such facilities is the number one and number two road-rated diesel fuel, according to Perry.\r\n\r\nAlong with producing fuel, the plant makes a unique organic fertilizer called biochar, a stable solid that is rich in carbon. For every ton of biochar that is produced, half a ton of water is gathered. The plant is then able to turn the water into potable water after filtering it. In total, the plant can produce up to 6.5 million gallons of fuel and 7,200 tons of biochar per year.\r\n\r\nResidents were mainly concerned about emissions and noise coming from the facility, including any smokestack emissions that would be produced. Perry was quick to dispel these rumors, stating, \u201cWe don\u2019t have emissions, we don\u2019t have smokestacks coming out into the air. The tallest building we have is around 32 feet tall, and is basically just a steel building. The site itself is, in a sense, benign. We are not an incineration system. We have no open flame, we do not burn anything. So in other words, we are basically just heating up elements to the point where it is 1,600 degrees Celsius, and those elements are vaporized upon moving through our \u2018chip\u2019 unit. Those gasses are then reformed and refined into diesel fuel.\u201d He went on to emphasize, \u201cThe idea that our plant is burning material is false.\u201d Electricity is used to heat up the elements instead of gas, since it is a more stable heat source.\r\n\r\nThe vaporation system used in the process is closed-circuit. All the gasses produced during the process are captured and rerun through the system, re-circulated until everything is processed. \u201cWe use 100 percent of all the materials we put through it,\u201d Perry explained.\r\n\r\nA main focus of the company is to have a minimal impact on the environment. The facility is completely carbon-neutral, even when you include the carbon emissions made from using the fuel created by the facility. Other plants built by the company that produce power instead of fuel are actually carbon-negative. \u201cIt\u2019s an amazing amount of carbon that we capture and sequester,\u201d said Perry. He also cited a study done by the University of Tennessee which showed that when using biochar, plant and crop growth increased 60-70 percent, while reducing the amount of water consumption by 80-90 percent.\r\n\r\nThe proposed facility in Sam Black would employ around 100 people. Before building can begin, the company must get a stormwater permit and finalize their air permits. They will also complete an economic impact study and environmental impact study. Depending on the weather, they hope to begin construction this March or April.