MN Manure-based Energy Plant to Expand to VA

In 2007, Fibrowatt opened the nation’s first large-scale poultry-litter-to-energy plant in Benson, Minnesota. They are looking to open a new plant in North Carolina, on the Delmarva Peninsula and here in the Valley. [story]

At the 55-megawatt Minnesota plant, the company turns about 450,000 tons of poultry litter a year into nearly 100,000 tons of ash fertilizer. It’s meant money for farmers and created about 40 jobs. But the plant released 445 tons of carbon monoxide, 361 tons of nitrogen oxides, 379 tons of particulate matter, 126 tons of sulfur dioxide, 52 tons of volatile organic compounds and 60 pounds of lead into the air in 2009, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. It also emits benzene, arsenic, formaldehyde, styrene, chloroform and other harmful substances.

Fibrowatt has long wanted to come east, but has had little luck. In 2010, Page County, Virginia officials shot down a proposed Fibrowatt facility following citizen complaints.

“Folks were opposed to the air emissions the facility would contribute,” Cave said, noting that truck traffic — 100 a day going through the community — and a proposed 300 foot smoke stack were major issues. “We understand the protection of the Bay is driving this thing, but are we so concerned with the Bay that we want rural citizens breathing toxins, just to save aquatic life?

“I think not.”