Seneca BioEnergy, LLC creates first 2 jobs at depot

Seneca BioEnergy, LLC has created its first two jobs at the company’s green energy complex at the former Seneca Army Depot.Walter E. Bennett Jr. of Waterloo is Operations Manager for the company’s Seneca AgBio Facility. Initially, he is working on the grape waste pomace processing system at the site to separate and dry grape seeds from various wineries and the pressing of grape seed oils at the Cornell Ag and Food Tech Park in Geneva. This operation will start in the fall of 2009.Sam Ruocco is the Facility Manager, and is responsible for maintaining the infrastructure at Seneca BioEnergy’s 55-acre site with two warehouse buildings with 400,000 square feet of warehouse and manufacturing space.“We are very pleased to have Walt and Sam on board at our depot site,” said Michael Coia, company CEO. “It’s exciting as we stage our agricultural processing and renewable energy production facility.”Coia said the company’s projections call for creating more than 100 jobs at the facility.Currently, Ruocco is the Site Manager for the four-month building deconstruction and materials recycling demonstration project at two of the former wooden warehouse buildings at the former depot. This project was completed last week.Ruocco managed the demolition crew from Cambria Contracting, Inc. of Lockport, who dismantled the structures to recycle the steel piping systems and wood timber sections and wood post columns. The project involves removing materials and stockpiling timber and steel sections for resale to interested customers.In addition, Coia explained, Seneca BioEnergy plans to assemble its future office and research center at the AgBio Facility using the recycled posts, beams and timber sections. “This will allow the building to be used as a showcase for the former depot, providing education areas for students and researchers studying renewable energy.” Coia said.Ruocco has been involved in the auto body and collision repair business for 35 years, including customer service work in recent years.Bennett is directing the preparation of the building with electricity, water and drainage for the arrival of the machinery to extract grape seeds from the grape pomace and crush the seeds for grape seed oil.Bennett has been in sales and manufacturing for more than 31 years and formerly was operations manager at CherryPharm at the Cornell Ag and Food Tech Park.Coia said Seneca BioEnergy sees the Finger Lakes, with its more than 100 wineries and thousands of acres of vineyards, as the company’s home for production of grape seed oil, which is a valuable low-fat oil used for many products and purposes. The oil is pressed from the grape seeds contained in pomace, which is the solid material left over after the juice is squeezed from grapes to make wine, he explained.Seneca BioEnergy, LLC’s AgBio Facility is being developed on a 55-acre property along Route 96 in Romulus. The company is converting two former Seneca Army Depot warehouse buildings with 400,000 square feet of redevelopment space and 3,500 feet of dedicated railroad tracks.When operations are completely under way, Seneca BioEnergy’s products will include three types:Agriculture – Soybean and canola oil, agricultural meal and grape seed oil;Energy – Biodiesel and biomass; andEnvironment – Vineyard waste management and manufactured soils.The company’s goals are green, said Coia. “Seneca BioEnergy seeks to support both energy and agriculture in ways that will serve and protect our environment in the future,’’ Coia said.

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