Planned energy facility to improve environment, economy of Tucumcari

Published: Aug. 17, 2017 at 2:25 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2017 at 11:50 AM CDT
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Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

TUCUMCARI, N.M. (KFDA) - An old Tucumcari ethanol plant is gaining new life.

President of Tucumcari Bio-Energy Company, Bob Hockaday, is repurposing the building  to turn it into a biomethane facility.

The methane and carbon dioxide production system will be created using a surprising resource...

"Our feed stock is manure," said Hockaday.

That's right, the company plans to create partnerships with feedlots and dairies in West Texas in order to bring in manure.

"We're gonna add that, essentially mix it with water and make a slurry that's gonna go into big tanks," said Hockaday. "Then you add what we call cheese whey or acid waste that's left over from the cheese plant."

They would then eventually process the product to make carbon dioxide.

Hockaday said the old ethanol plant is the perfect fit for the new facility.

"We have the big tanks, we have the boilers, we have a site that we can do this on, and nobody could figure out what to do with it," said Hockaday. "So the idea is to take it over, show that it can be done and once we know how to do this you can duplicate the system."

While it will help feedlots dispose of the manure, Hockaday hopes the facility will serve as a pilot project that eventually spreads across the area.

This project is something the executive director of the Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corporation Patrick Vanderpool said will turn the city's economy around.

"When you do economic development, we talk about 'okay what's going to be a game changer," said Vanderpool. "What Bob's project here is, it can be a game changer for us in this community and so that's one of the reason's we're so excited about it."

Vanderpool said this will also bring more career opportunities to Tucumcari.

"The feasibility study says 20 direct jobs related this actual project," said Vanderpool. "But some of the other spin off activities that Bob has talked about, such as the greenhouse operation that could be co-located and things like that, those are going to create additional jobs and opportunities for the community."

Hockaday said he expects the new biomethane facility to be up and running in about a year and a half.

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