Use mesquite for energy? Why not

Randy Hill lives amid the fossil fuels of America, a place where natural gas and crude oil made millionaires and the landscape is dotted with pump jacks.

But Hill, who lives outside Abilene in West Texas, is spending much of his time nowadays talking about an unusual power source: wood chips.

The owner of a firm that manufactures trailers that dry agricultural products, Hill has turned his moneymaking attention from peanuts to timber waste, believing that the same process that revolutionized the peanut industry could do the same for biomass within the alternative energy industry.

Burning biomass for electricity generation, even in places as treeless as West Texas, is possible to Hill, who can't help but notice millions of acres of Texas ranchland covered with mesquite.

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