ALMONO Brownfield a

The 178-acre ALMONO brownfield site in Hazelwood was once home to two of the largest steel manufacturers in the Southwesten Pennsylvania region: Jones and Laughlin Steel Company (J&L) from 1884 to 1974 and Ling Temco Vought (LTV) Coke Works 1974 to 1998. LTV shut its gates in 1998, leaving behind a virtual ghost town of rolling mills and sheds, blast furnaces, coke ovens, and rail transport arteries. Within a year, over 90% of the  site was demolished. Due to contamination, the area needed to be de-commissioned of asbestos, petroleum, PCB removal, and other environmental hazards. Despite the environmental challenges, the actual geographical location of the former site is on prime river front property adjacent to the community of Hazelwood.

In 2007, The GTECH team, then policy graduate students at the Heinz College, initiated an independent feasibility study sponsored by the Institute for Social Innovation to pilot the idea of transitioning vacant space through proactive, productive green strategies, specifically biofuel crops.


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The Opportunity

Through a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University’s Field Robotics Center, Bidwell Training Center, and RIDC, GTECH piloted its Bioenergy Garden reclamation model on the brownfield, growing switchgrass, sunflowers, and over 500 hybrid populars. The project demonstrated the applicability of GTECH’s model to large-scale industrial and former industrial sites, as well as commercial and residential sites. 

The GTECH Model

Reclaiming Vacant Land

GTECH and a host of partners planted hybrid poplar trees, switchgrass, and sunflowers to evaluate remediation capability and crop yield.

Applied Innovation

Serving as an ideal platform for research and development, GTECH continues to work with community, university, governmental, and private partners to evaluate proactive ways of utilizing resources prevalent at places like ALMONO.


GTECH’s innovative brownfield remediation project opened the door to large-scale, industrial work opportunities. The crops used throughout the project have enabled successful remediation research, biofuel testing, and the launch of GTECH’s sunflower seed packet business.  More importantly, perhaps, the project proved that GTECH’s model was designed to take on reclamation projects of multiple scales. This pilot project provided the launching pad for GTECH to secure its first grant and community site project in East Liberty, in partnership with East Liberty Development Incorporated.