Fibrominn – the Minnesota plant
This plant was established after the three UK plants were up and running, and had been sold. HRE sought to export the technology to the US and formed Fibrowatt for that purpose. Once the plant was built and running, Fibrominn was the firm that took over operation.
Some highlights from the Fibrominn site:
- First poultry litter-fueled power plant in the U.S.
- Began operating in mid-2007
- Located on a 77-acre site on the south side of Highway 12, two miles west of Benson in west central Minnesota (HC note: current Google Earth imagery does not show the plant)
- Uses more than 500,000 tons of poultry litter annually, as well as other biomass
- Majority of the fuel is litter supplied by Minnesota turkey growers
- 55-megawatt power plant that produces enough electricity to serve approximately 40,000 homes
- Electricity is sold to Xcel Energy
- Created 100 full-time jobs – 30 on site, 60 in litter transportation, and 10 at the ash fertlizer plant
- Provided several hundred construction-related jobs over a two-and-a-half year period
- Will spend millions of dollars on local purchases annually
One other thought - from what I am reading, planning for this plant began as early as 2001, and as noted above, construction didn't begin until 2004 or 2005. So there is about three years minimum before any economic impact would be noticed, and another three years or so before the plant is up and running and the rest of the community economic impact begins.
I’ve mentioned the outreach process that Fibrowatt emphasizes. The Minnesota community, Benson, formed a Citizens Advisory Panel in 2001 to discuss and resolve issues related to truck traffic, odor, facility layout, and air emissions. Reading the CAP minutes is a goal of mine during this series – just haven’t gotten to it yet.
There is a grand opening ceremony video on the Fibrominn website, and photo galleries of the plant and loading bays scattered around there too: