A renewable market: Giant machines generating green energy
A longtime Santa Maria manufacturer that built its reputation serving the oil and gas industry is getting a big boost from renewable energy.
Atlas Copco Mafi-Trench Co., better known as Mafi-Trench in the region, builds turboexpanders — huge machines that use the differences in heat and pressure among gasses to spin a turbine. That spinning can power the processes used to refine natural gas and other chemicals or, in the case of geothermal power, generate electricity.
Founded in Westlake Village in 1975, Mafi-Trench moved to Santa Maria in the early 1980s and now employs 160 people there. The company’s bread and butter has been oil and gas companies from around the world, but earlier this year it built six huge machines that are helping a geothermal plant near Reno, Nev., generate 65 megawatts of clean power.
That’s enough juice to power a mid-sized city like Santa Maria and avoid 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, according to the firm.