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Prairieland awaits testing

July 16, 2011
Jenn Brookens - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

TRUMAN - A contract for Prairieland to provide a Mankato power plant with more refuse-derived fuel rests on the results of a test burn of Prairieland's product. But that is easier said than done.

"We can't just put our RDF into a pile in the corner and burn it," explained Prairieland manager Mark Bauman during a board of directors meeting Friday.

The RDF is stored in a facility at Xcel's Mankato plant. The storage building is owned by a third company, Resource Recovery Technology, the largest supplier of RDF to the Mankato plant.

"[Xcel] does not want to do this without the permission from RRT, but there's been no communication between the two," Bauman said.

One solution Prairieland is considering is retrofitting its delivery trucks so it can load the RDF directly into the power plant, without needing to use the storage building.

"[Xcel] can't step on the toes of their biggest supplier; they already did so some by talking with us," Bauman said. "But RRT needs the [Mankato] plant because RRT does not have a burning facility."

Working through Resource Recovery Technology, Prairieland currently pays to have its RDF used at the power plant. The contract being discussed would allow Prairieland to deal directly with Xcel and take more RDF to the Mankato facility.

Prairieland hopes to achieve this and be able to move away from the composting portion of its business. This would help re-position Prairieland as more viable financially.

Prairieland is owned and operated by Martin and Faribault counties.

With the purchase of a Doppstadt industrial shredder at the start of the year, more of the refuse brought to Prairieland can be broken down into material for RDF.

In other business Friday, the board approved the purchase of a real-time meter to monitor its electricity usage. The monitor will help Prairieland even out its electricity usage, and could help lower utility costs for the plant and the town of Truman.



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