Poop Power in the WSJ

July 12th, 2010


Fibrowatt in the Wall Street Journal?

I would think that Minnesota’s experience with burning chicken shit would wake up the world.  How is it that so many states had the sense to run Fibrowatt right out of town, Alan Muller & Green Delaware led the charge in Delaware, and just recently, Fibrowatt was run out of North Carolina.  He’s been digging into their file at the MPCA, it’s intense, he spent a LOT of time in the basement file room, got piles of papers and a disc or two, and he got a copy of the agreement after it came out:

MPCA-Fibrominn Stipulation Agreement

FYI, here’s the PPA from November 2000 – I believe it’s been ratcheted up since:

Fibrominn PPA- November 2000

To review the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission file on Fibrominn go to www.puc.state.mn.us and “Search eDockets” and search for docket “00-1169.”   The compliance filings are redacted, so the comparisons between Fibrominn, Laurentian, and District Energy in the most recent filing that would be so enlightening,  isn’t… DRAT!

What’s Minnesota’s experience with Fibrowatt/Fibrominn:

Contact: Forrest Peterson, 320-441-6972 Willmar, Minn. — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Fibrominn of Benson reached an agreement recently resolving the company’s past failure to comply with state air-quality rules and permit conditions. Air emission violations occurring since 2007 resulted in a $65,000 penalty, and corrective actions including the installation of a new sulfur dioxide monitor at a minimum cost of $80,000. Fibrominn began operation in May 2007 burning primarily turkey litter to generate electricity. Since the start of operations, the facility has experienced numerous violations of its permit. The settlement addresses violations of late report submittals, failed performance test, and excess nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions. The company also failed to self-report deviations that occurred during operation of the facility’s poultry litter-fired boiler. Fibrominn has since conducted the performance test and submitted a testing frequency plan, a continuous opacity monitor/continuous emissions monitor downtime elimination report, a pressure drop limit, a relative accuracy test audit test plan, a hydrochloric acid correlation curve and a permit compliance checklist. Minnesota law requires owners and operators of facilities with the potential to release air pollutants to have MPCA permits. Facilities must also carefully monitor and maintain equipment because emissions exceeding state standards can degrade air quality. The MPCA offers outreach and training to help facilities meet their permit requirements. For more information on air quality permits and emission standards, call Jennifer Lovett, MPCA air quality inspector, at 651-757-2538 or 1-800-657-3864. A stipulation agreement such as this is one of the tools used to achieve compliance with environmental laws. When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violation affected the environment, whether it is a first-time or repeat violation and how promptly the violation was reported to appropriate authorities. It also attempts to recover the calculated economic benefit gained by failure to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner. For a comprehensive list of enforcement actions by the MPCA, go to the agency’s Web site at www.pca.state.mn.us/newscenter/enforcement.html.

Here’s a link to Jim Turner’s blog digging into it when confronted with a proposal nearby in Page County, VA:

A Summary of Fibrowatt Posts

Where they were run out again:

Board says “Thanks, but no thanks”

But then we have yahoos like Delaware’s Senator Carper who just can’t seem to bend over far enough despite so much evidence on what a piss-poor idea poop power is:

Carper waste-to-energy proposal wins key vote

So what’s Fibrowatt up to?

Back to the beginning, the article about Fibrowatt in today’s Wall Street Journal that means Fibrowatt is gearing up for another assault on some unsuspecting or uncaring state, with this about their plant here in Minnesota:

Fibrowatt’s vice president for public and environmental affairs, Terry Walmsley, says sound combustion practices and pollution-control systems keep carbon-monoxide and sulfur-dioxide emissions at safe levels. But in December, Minnesota’s environmental agency, citing “numerous” permit violations, fined Fibrowatt $65,000 and ordered it to upgrade the sulfur-dioxide monitor at its Minnesota plant. Mr. Walmsley says the plant’s recent report to state regulators showed pollutants in 2009 were well below allowable limits.

Here’s the full article:

JULY 11, 2010

Looking to Litter

Energy Company Sees a Future in Chicken Manure


Poultry farms in the U.S. generate roughly 17 million tons of chicken manure annually, creating a huge disposal problem. Some energy researchers believe they have a solution: use that manure to create electricity.

Many farmers use chicken litter—a mixture of manure and bedding—as a fertilizer, either spreading it on their own croplands or selling it to other growers. But the litter increasingly is being blamed for phosphorus-laden runoff that chokes waterways in heavy poultry-producing areas, and environmentalists are pushing the federal government to set limits on its use.
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