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R-Qubed developing biogas plant

A six-mile stretch of 13 dairies along Interstate 10 between El Paso and La Cruces produces around 1.6 billion pounds of cattle manure annually.

With this in mind, start up company R-Qubed is currently developing a biogas plant in the region. It will convert the manure into methane for electricity production, in addition to high-grade fertiliser, compost and other materials.

And according to Keith Hughes of R-Qubed, the firm is also looking into the possibility of generating renewable energy from human and restaurant waste.

The finished plant will consist of four digesters, the first of which will be 65 feet tall. Reynolds Inc. is putting $25 million (€17.9 million) towards the build. However the overall cost of the biogas facility will be in the region on $80 million. Construction is to begin in January next year.

When operations have begun the plant will generate 12MW of renewable electricity a year, benefitting 10,000 households. It has been reported that Public Service Co. of New Mexico is looking to purchase as much renewable gas as the company can produce.

Although the company expects to create $25 million in annual sales for each of its four digesters, it is thought that fertiliser sales may provide for the most significant payback.

R-Qubed is looking to be profitable by 2014.