Orange County Eco-Innovation Park (OCEIP)
Building Resiliency through Sustainable, Plant-Based Economy
OCEIP is the only rural innovation and entrepreneurship incubation park in the state centered around renewable energy, waste biomass, and plant based economies. These collaborative businesses work together to form a "tool chest" for resiliency strategies for sustainable community economic development that is both replicable and appropriately scalable in both urban and rural communities.
It demonstrates the GOAL Model, a decentralized, closed-loop, multi-nodal, waste-to-fuel-to-transportation, renewable energy system; and The Hemp Collaborative and Green Oil BioFarma. These systems can allow other recycled waste, or plant-based economy business strategies can be added synergistically, lower overhead and cost, sharing expenses, and one business taking on the waste stream of another as feedstock.
Each of the core LLC's play a vital role in OCEIP. Current Site renters include:
- Green Oil Company, LLC, (Green Oil) a restaurant service provider that primarily collects and processes waste veggie oil / greenoilcompanyllc.com
- Carolina Biodiesel, LLC,(CBL) that distributes biodiesel (and once produced) / carolinabiofuels.org
- Greenway Transit Services, LLC, (Greenway) a transportation company that uses the value-added biofuel in its fleet / greenwayrides.com
- The Forest Foundation, Inc. a non-profit 501(3)c that provides assistance in environmental education and green business development, and currently helps manage the OCEIP Site and its members / theforestfoundation.org
- The Hemp Collaborative and Green Oil BioFarma
NC permitted the experimental growing of industrial hemp in 2018 and Green Oil has secured the services of a permit holding farmer, Sam Jenkins (who raised several acres in the 2018 season) to raise 1 acre on the Efland property, starting in Spring of 2019. Additional relationships have been started with other farmers.
The building, land, and location make the eco park an ideal site for demonstrating sustainable technology and serving the farm community with a range of services including: indoor greenhouses for propagating plants, drying and processing of flowers, seeds, and fiber. CBD oil that comes from the hemp (non-psychoactive component) has proven efficacy and value in a range of human health challenges and has enormous value at this point. Each of these services could become a significant income generator and renter of the properties adding to the strength and value of OCEIP and Green Oil.
- Invest in the Future
- CBD Hemp Production
- Solar Green Roof
- Biodiesel Plant
- Wood and Food Waste Biomethane, Biochar, and Compost
- Green Lab Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The OCEIP building could be subdivided to like-minded businesses. A new roof will be needed around 2024, which could also serve as another investment project, replacing the existing one with a green roof, and Photovoltaic and solar hot water system, that could be paid for through a separate investment group that sells energy and roofing services back to the park.
The building could also house: retail space, and a certified kitchen, and lab to value add produce grown on the property and serve an event center, bar, or brewery. In addition to the 2.67 acre OCEIP parcel the adjacent property is for sale with 16 acres zoned as industrial, a rarity in Orange County, and 20 acres as agricultural, that includes an old brick barn and office building. Values are around $20K per acre. Both properties abut I-85 with Orange County sewer line running along the back corridor and Orange County water service along the front. This property is inexpensive compared to properties in the region and holds much upside potential due to its proximity to the interstate exit and to one of the fastest growing regions in the country.
Long-term investment value in the land has high upside promise based on demographics, population growth, and particularly given this area being one of the centers of migration for jobs and stability post Hurricane Florence and Michael in 2018. With sea level rise and exodus from lowland areas likely to speed up in the next decades this property holds much potential. Also, this region suffered very low impact during the 2008 housing market crash and subsequent recession.
Income can be generated from the land in multiple ways: one, full-scale industrial hemp and other agricultural products, two, event space for parties, and three, possible low-cost, green housing or intentional community around training in eco-innovation technology. Those who work at the site may want homes close by and the opportunity to work and learn how to build low cost, natural structures, like cob or straw-bale, as well as other sustainable technology.