Making a pitch for California to lead the world in clean technology research, Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado said a $10 million project in Oxnard shows how innovation can create jobs in old-line industries such as agriculture.
“This is an important project for California,” said Maldonado, speaking May 14 at Gills Onions, where a waste recycling project uses methane gas to power fuel cells. “This is what can happen when business and government can work together.”
Gills Onions’ fuel cell project recently won the nation’s top engineering honor, beating the new Dallas Cowboys stadium and other multimillion-dollar projects. The facility, built by HDR Engineering of Omaha, Neb., processes onion peels and other waste to power two fuel cells that provide most of the plant’s power needs.
Maldonado owns his family’s strawberry farm in Santa Maria and represented the Central Coast area for 12 years in the California Legislature. He was sworn in as California’s lieutenant governor on April 27, after being appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to fill a term that expires this year.
Maldonado was at Gills Onions as part of tour hosted by the American Council of Engineering Companies, the group that last month gave Gills and HDR its Grand Conceptor Award.