GB #8: Missouri Biofuels Plant Getting Back on Track

I don’t think I ever got around to blogging about the Carthage, MO, biofuels plant that was ordered to shut down temporarily because of bad smells — that happened in December if memory serves me right. According to ENN, the plant in getting back into operations, if only part-time:

The Renewable Environmental Solutions plant in Carthage, Mo., will be able to operate daily through March 6, expanding on a first test run from Feb. 1-15 when the state limited it to three days a week, Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Connie Patterson said.

The plant will also modify its feedstock. Instead of using 100 percent turkey waste from a neighboring Butterball plant, it will apply heat and pressure to a mix of turkey waste, grease and vegetable oils — a combo aimed at reducing odor emissions.

The plant, which opened in 2004 to test the commercial viability of making alternative fuel from animal byproducts, was ordered closed in December after persistent complaints about foul smells. The Department of Natural Resources allowed the southwest Missouri plant to reopen for three days a week from Feb. 1 to Feb. 15 to test new odor controls.

State regulators last week said they saw a decline in complaints about bad smells in that period, from 14 at the start to none in the last three-day production run. Inspectors were also unable to pinpoint whether the smells that triggered complaints came from Renewable Environmental Solutions or nearby turkey or cheese plants.

“The department is taking a cautious approach on this,” Patterson said.

“At the end of this time period (March 6), we will evaluate the performance of RES and see if it is able to move up to the next step. If problems develop, we will rescind the authorization,” she said.

I remember when the plant opened, and thinking it looked like a cool experiment in industrial ecology. Glad to see they’re getting back on track, and wondering if the DNR holds all plants to this standard — I’ve been by some pretty smelly chemical plants and paper mills… I have no idea what the plant’s new mix does in terms of it being more or less “green” now.

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