The Central Minnesota Ethanol Cooperative in Little Falls is getting closer to converting the facility's energy source from natural gas to waste wood products.
Plant officials have been looking at building a biomass gasification system for about two years. This process would get rid of bacteria and other harmful compounds when making ethanol and would reduce odors.
Kerry Nixon, ethanol co-op general manager, and other plant officials explained the gasification process Monday to the Little Falls City Council. Plant officials are asking the city for a conditional use permit to allow them to move forward.
Little Falls City Administrator Richard Carlson said no one spoke for or against the permit for the ethanol plant during the public hearing Monday.
The cooperative is proposing to build a biomass gasification system that would generate fuel for pollution control equipment at the ethanol plant.
The plant would use between 200-250 tons a day of chipped wood from sources such as railroad ties and forest clippings. The plant currently produces 20 million gallons of ethanol every year.
The gasification process would save the plant money and energy and would replace one-third of the plant's electricity needs, plant officials said.
Carlson said the council instructed the city's planning commission to study the permit and for staff to come up with findings or conditions that the plant would have to follow.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5851.
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