New Plastics-to-Fuels Plant Coming to Indiana in 2020

New Plastics-to-Fuels Plant Coming to Indiana in 2020

In 2020, Ashley, Indiana will be the home of a new 112,000-square-foot plant to convert plastics into fuel.

The facility is being built by Brightmark Energy out of California.  The plant will convert 100,000 tons of plastics into 18 million gallons of fuel for BP.

Besides contributing to the environment, 136 full-time jobs will be created once the plant becomes operational.


Video Spotlight: Plastics 101 | National Geographic


This post is based on the Inside Indiana Business article, Construction to begin on Plastics-to-Fuel Plant, by Alex Brown, May 22, 2019; and the YouTube video, Plastics 101, by National Geographic, May 18, 2018. Image source: Ingram Publishing/SuperStock

Discussion Questions:

1. Why is Brightmark building a facility to convert plastics to fuel? What are the environmental benefits?

Guidance: Converting plastics waste into fuel makes economic sense for Brightmark. A buyer is already secured for the fuel. A key environmental benefit is the diversion of plastic from landfills and oceans.

2. What facility location factors influenced Brightmark’s decision to build a facility in Ashley, Indiana?

Guidance: Government incentives include $1 million in tax credits and training grants. Ashley has labor availability, and proximity to a source of plastic waste.

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The Fight Against Superbugs Is All About Money

The Fight Against Superbugs Is All About Money

Low demand and profitability have prompted large pharmaceutical companies to exit the antibiotics market.

As intensive care units around the country struggle to combat increasingly resistant bacteria, companies developing the new generations of antibiotics aimed at killing them are shutting down.

The reason? Low revenues that do not cover the substantial investments in R&D. Doctors and public health experts are taking notice and proposing funding alternatives.


Video Spotlight:We’re losing the war against bacteria, here’s why


This post is based on the Bloomberg article, Antibiotics Aren’t Profitable Enough for Big Pharma to Make More, by R. Langreth, May 3, 2019; and the YouTube video, We’re losing the war against bacteria, here’s why, by The New York Times, April 8, 2019. Image source: CDC/James Gathany

Discussion Questions:

1. Why are profits low in the antibiotics industry?

Guidance: Given the time and resources required to do the research, the R&D costs of developing a new antibiotic are typically high. Yet, the selling price is low compared to that of other drugs (e.g. cancer drugs), and the demand is relatively low. Not only are doctors reluctant to prescribe new antibiotics unless they are absolutely needed, but the demand Continue reading

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California’s Ag Labor Shortages Lead to Automation

California’s Ag Labor Shortages Lead to Automation

May 19, 2019

California’s farmers, who produce almost half of the nation’s fresh fruits and vegetables and over 90% of tree nuts, are increasingly mechanizing operations to cope with ongoing labor shortages and increasing costs of labor.

In particular, mechanized planters, weeders, and harvesters, along with specialized tractor attachments are gaining popularity.  Robotic farm technology is also being developed to harvest crops like strawberries and grapes.

One other potential way to address the labor shortage lies in improving the cumbersome temporary visa program that allows people from other countries to enter legally for the purpose of filling jobs that American workers don’t want to do.


Video Spotlight: Farms Face A Severe Labor Shortage And These Robots Are Here To Help


This post is based on the CNBC article, California farmers increasingly turning to mechanization due to labor shortages, says survey, by Jeff Daniels, May 1, 2019; and the YouTube video, Farms Face A Severe Labor Shortage And These Robots Are Here To Help, by CNBC, March 8, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / tanger

Discussion Questions:

1. What are some of the pros and cons of increased use of mechanization?

Guidance: For larger farm operations with the capital Continue reading

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