Manure-powered plants will boost Hereford's economy - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Manure-powered plants will boost Hereford's economy

It's not the town's most aromatic attribute, but Hereford has heaps of it. NewsChannel 10's Julia Bagg explains why manure smells of success to some local ethanol investors.

Hereford's busy rail system caught Panda Energy's attention when they went looking for an ethanol plant site. But not as much as something else.

"Part of Panda's plans are to produce energy from our manure, and we have plenty of that," says Mike Schueler, President of Hereford Economic Development Corporation.

"That's one of the key aspects that made Hereford very appealing," says Howard Humphrey, Panda Energy Site Manager

Workers are now building a conveyer belt to help bring in and burn half a billion tons of manure a year. Panda says this will be the first manure-powered plant of its kind in the country.

"You're taking a natural source and basically creating fire and disposing of it rather than just sitting in wind rows basically around here," adds Humphrey. 

Turns out manure is easier on the pocketbook too. "It's less expensive than what natural gas or other type materials could be," said Humphrey.

When the plant reaches full capacity, it will produce 105 million gallons of ethanol a year. With the Panda project being one of two local ethanol plants under construction. The other belongs to White Energy. Hereford is already feeling the economic jolt.

"They've employed alot of local people and they've brought in other workers, so we just have alot of extra workers and employment in town," said Schueler. 

Schueler points out once the construction is over, the plants will be a stabilizing force in Economy. We're told the Panda and White energy plants will employ at least sixty people each.

Both are expected to reach full production capacity by this time next year. Panda Energy tells us if all goes well, they'll likely build more manure-powered facilities in Hereford's future.


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