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Nations first poultry-litter fueled plant opens

The nation’s first poultry litter-fueled power plant opened in October. Fibrominn is generating enough renewable electricity to serve 40,000 homes. Power from the 55-megawatt plant is being purchased by Xcel Energy as part of a state renewable energy mandate.

Fibrominn will burn 500,000 tons of poultry manure a year, as well as other biomass, according to a written statement from the company. Most of the manure is supplied by central Minnesota turkey producers. Ash from combusted litter is reconditioned for fertilizer at an adjacent plant, North The American Fertilizer LLC.

Benson’s 55-megawatt Fibrominn power plant, fueled by poultry manure and other biomass, started operating in October. The plant is selling enough electricity to Xcel Energy to serve 40,000 homes.

The plant’s opening caps nearly a decade of development efforts, which began in 1998. AURI participated in the early planning stages, working with Greg Langmo, a Litchfield, Minn., turkey grower, to explore new uses for the region’s abundant poultry manure. Later, AURI assisted with research on processing the ash for fertilizer.

Fibrominn, a subsidiary of Fibrowatt LLC, a Pennsylvania biomass power developer, has created about 100 new full-time jobs, the company says. The plant will spend $5 million a year on poultry manure and other local supplies and services. Fibrowatt is planning additional biomass power plants in Alabama, Georgia and Texas.