Ramble On

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A list of questions for Fibrowatt

Commenter Jay has raised a great list of due diligence questions, so I am pulling them out into a post.  Here we go:

I would love to see a couple clear pages of known facts from Fiberwatt.

--how many tons of chicken litter will be burned each week.

--How many tons of other combustibles?

--What exactly will these other combustibles be?

--How many trucks will be driving into their factory each day?

--How many fulltime local jobs will be created and maintained once the plant is built?

--How many of these jobs will go to people who live in Page Co currently vs. jobs given to people who are imported from out of the area. It's common for corporations to bring in management and technical staff from outside headquarters.

--Provide pollution results from their plant in Minnesota. They have more than enough data now to back up any claims they make. Independent studies would of course be more believable.

--Who will build the transmission lines, industrial roads, and other infrastructure needed at Project Clover to support their plant.

--What projected taxes to they plan to pay annually that will benefit Page County? Would like to see it projected over a 10-year period.

--Explain how they dispose of the burnt materials from their plant. Will it be sent to Battle Creek dump?

--Where will they get the water they need to feed such a large energy plant?

--Where will they dispose of their dirty water?

--What tax breaks are they asking for from Page County to come here.

These are the answers anyone would need to begin having an informed opinion.


Terry Walmsley said...

In response Jay’s questions.

These responses are broken into two comments based on size

First off, as we have indicated in press discussions and through this site, we are in the initial stages of looking at the development of a project in Virginia. As such, many of the questions you ask are the type of questions that would be answered in more detail as development proceeds and various aspects of a project are assembled.

To put this project in perspective - to date, we have been welcomed to the Commonwealth by a number of stakeholders that are aware of the importance of the poultry industry to Virginia, that are seeking the benefits of renewable energy, that understand the importance of new job creation and poultry industry job retention, and understand how such an alternative for poultry litter management could benefit Virginia’s commitment to protecting the Chesapeake Bay. While a Virginia opportunity is still early in the development stage, we can offer a little more information.

This discussion on these questions are provided in a second comment.

Terry Walmsley, Fibrowatt LLC

Terry Walmsley said...

In response Jay’s questions.

This is the second of two comments.

Questions were asked on the quantity of poultry litter, quantity of other secondary biomass materials that would be utilized at the plant, number of trucks and what other types of biomass are used.

At this stage we can not offer definitive answers to the quantity of fuel and the number of trucks that will be utilized as the size of the plant has not been determined. The size of the plant is dependent on the number of poultry farms that are interested in supplying litter as well as how much of the litter at a farm would be committed to the plant. The plant size and therefore poultry litter requirement is dependent on the available poultry litter as well as a number of other factors such as power purchase arrangements, electrical transmission access, and location.

As was mentioned previously, in addition to poultry litter - we use a number of other biomass fuels such as wood chips that are left over after forestry and timbering operations as well as agricultural by-products. In Minnesota, we have used sunflower hulls, corn stover, corn cobbs and other agricultural by-products, providing additional revenue to the farms that have supplied this material.

Questions were asked on jobs.

A response to the questions about jobs can be found in a number of previous comments, specifically the response to Mr. Shoemakers comments as reprinted earlier today under “Some Fibrowatt Answers, Part 1” as well as my February 3 comment under “Fibrowatt’s Minnesota Plant.”

A question was asked about emissions and independent studies.

At the Minnesota plant, the facility has continuous emissions monitors that take emission readings every few seconds. The monitors are certified monitors and these emissions readings are provided directly to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) as well as the United States Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, the plant must undergo third-party testing by an independent testing firm under MPCA supervision to confirm emissions and the accuracy of these emission monitors. This information is available through the MPCA.

Several questions were raised about taxes and project details such as roads, water, wastewater, and transmission lines.

As we have said several times, a Virginia project is in the initial stages of development and evaluation - therefore it is not possible at this point to provide details on these financial and design considerations. As a project proceeds, these are questions that would be answered by Fibrowatt and the host community.

A question was asked about the material left after the combustion of the biomass fuel:.

An important aspect of a Fibrowatt plant is the recovery of a fertilizer feedstock from the combustion process. As people likely realize, poultry litter is used as a low-grade fertilizer. Fibrowatt likewise will recover nutrients as an ash by-product that will be further processed for sale as a concentrated fertilizer. In Minnesota, the Fibrominn facility has sold all of this ash by-product to a third-party fertilizer company, North American Fertilizer, for subsequent processing and marketing.

Terry Walmsley
Fibrowatt LLC

Jay Dedman said...

Thanks for these answers, though they are more circumstantial than concrete. I understand that it's difficult to be specific about a plant that doesnt exist in Page county yet, but at some point assume you will be providing this info to Page County leaders. Be great if it was shared with it's citizens as well.

You mention several things about your plant in Minnesota. Links on your website regarding these comments would be great.

The next time you visit out humble county, let us know and we'll all take you out for dinner at Uncle Bucks. face to face is always more personable.