The plant is one of 7,000-plus the company figures it could build across Ohio, creating roughly 250,000 jobs and $2 billion in energy value. It would also power some of the OARDC's energy needs.
"We have the ability to create an unbelievable supply chain," said Steven Smith, chief financial officer.
More than 300,000 digesters could be built across the nation, he said. The OARDC plant could be in place as early as September.
The project could potentially make Ohio the nation's leader in anaerobic digestion, next to Wisconsin, which Kurtz said has about 10.
More importantly, the digesters being developed by Schmack work, Kurtz said, because they're backed by the company's own research and real-world application.
"Most of them (in other states) don't work, because none of them have what you helped provide out there in the lab," Kurtz told Gee.
The tour included an overview of the digesters and how they work.
Kurtz said the state and federal government has been good to Schmack, in the form of grants and other support.
"The governor's been great; (Lt. Governor Lee) Fisher's been great; it's been a lot of love coming from Columbus," he said.
Now the company is looking to grow with the university, he explained.
Gee said the lease provides opportunity "for Ohio State and more importantly for Ohio."
No action was taken on the lease during the meeting, but officials said they will review the regulatory policies of the university regarding leases on the OARDC land, with the likelihood it will be granted.
In addition to OARDC, Schmack also announced its plan to build a digester on the campus of OSU's Agricultural Technical Institute.
ATI Director Stephen Nameth said the campus has plenty of property and would welcome the digester, for energy production and to supplement bioenergy education.
"They really want to get as many of these out there as possible, and for us, it would be a tremendous teaching tool," Nameth said.
As the digesters pop up, so will interest and use of bioenergy, Kurtz predicted.
"It's chicken and eggs," he said. "People don't want to buy it until they can fuel it, and people don't want to put fuel stations in until they have cars that will run on it."
Reporter Chris Kick can be reached at 330-287-1635 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.