Experimental energy plant will bring 200 jobs to Killeen

By Bryan Kirk – Telegram Staff Writer

Published May 29, 2008

KILLEEN – State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, will join with Bell County leaders at a news conference at 11 a.m. today to announce the possibility of an
experimental energy plant that is expected to be built in Killeen.

“There are no other plants like this one in the world,” Aycock said.

The announcement, which will be made at Killeen City Hall, will announce the arrival of a prototype energy conversion plant, funded by an estimated $300 million in private investments that will help create 200 jobs in Killeen, Aycock said.

“This won’t cost the taxpayers anything,” said Council-man Billy Workman, who serves as the chairman of the city’s solid waste committee. “This will bring revenue into the city.”

Workman, who has long been the lone advocate on the council for cleaner forms of energy conversion, such as wind and solar power, said this can only be good for the city and county.

“I have been talking about this for a long time,” Workman said.

The first such plant, know as a ZERO, is projected to be built in Killeen, but will also include participation from Fort Hood, Copperas Cove, Harker Heights and Bell County, Aycock said.

“We are excited to be the proposed site for this leading edge technology that will convert solid waste to energy and other marketable byproducts,” says Killeen City Manager Connie Green. “The new facility will present an opportunity for regional savings in solid waste hauling and landfill disposal costs in an environmentally responsible way.”

The plant, which was designed at Texas A&M University by Dr. Allen Jones, who was formerly part of the Blackland Research Station in Temple, will convert garbage into a usable energy source.

“We are hoping that this is a big deal,” Aycock said. “This is truly new and untested research.”

The plant would use an oxygenated system to convert as much as 300,000 tons of garbage annually into energy with zero emissions.

Aycock said he hopes this new system planned for Killeen would be used to generate electricity, with the possibility of alternative forms of fuel later on.

Aycock said the interest of having such a prototype in Bell County is because of the interest expressed by the Department of Defense and Fort Hood, in particular.

And even though the first plant isn’t even official, Aycock said he anticipates that if this one is as successful as he hopes, a second plant will be built in Bell County.

“Temple is in the running for that one,” Aycock said.

Despite the excitement of an alternative source of energy and the possibility of a stronger economic development future, nothing is yet certain, Aycock said.

“The i’s still have to be dotted and the t’s still need to be crossed,” he said.

–Reprinted with permission of Temple Daily Telegram

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