LIMA — The Ohio Energy and Advanced Manufacturing Center is considering starting a Center for Petroleum Research in Lima.
“The quality of crude oil is changing and it’s happening all over the Midwest,” said Patrick Conrath, director of operations at Husky Lima Refinery and an OEAMC board member, at the Rotary Club of Lima meeting Monday. “There’s a lot of refineries in the area. … They’re having similar problems that require laboratory research to solve.”
That’s what the OEAMC could potentially offer.
“Lima is a great location for this because of its proximity to refineries,” Conrath said.
Though the concept is in the early stages, there is interest from local businesses, said Judy Cowan, president and CEO of OEAMC.
The nonprofit collaborative manufacturing development center talked to local companies to gauge their interest in a petroleum research center in Lima.
“We were encouraged by the feedback they provided,” Cowan said.
The center has been awarded a grant of $54,125 from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration and a $150,000 grant the county got through the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Economic Adjustment. It also has matching funds for the second grant, making a total of $258,250 to do a feasibility study.
The center is looking for a company to conduct a feasibility study of having one in Northwest Ohio, Cowan said.
Once the study is done, the center will look for more funding to build a structure in Lima to house the lab, Cowan said in September.
Long-term, the funding could potentially help companies such as Ford, Procter & Gamble, Husky Energy and the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center, Cowan said.
The future lab will provide “analysis services closer to home and have a research and development component involved in it,” Cowan said in September. “Hopefully we’ll identify a new process, in this emerging new alternative energy world, that will benefit all of us. … We have to be on the cutting edge.”
The OEAMC also has a high strain rate metal forming commercialization center.
Reach Danae King at 567-242-0511 or on Twitter @DanaeKing.