EcoCorp., Inc. of Arlington, Virginia, unveiled a proposal in Somerset County, Maryland,  last week for a 1 megawatts renewable energy plant at Eastern Correctional Institution, the state’s largest prison, that would produce biomethane fuel from poultry manure as well as organic fertilizer. EcoCorp. is proposing to buy 8,000 tons of chicken manure a year. Company officials said the fertilizer would be custom blended and minus water and methane concentrated in raw chicken manure.

In December, the Maryland Board of Public Works approved a 30-year lease for land at the correctional institution for the anaerobic digestion facility that is expected to break ground this spring and be up and running within six months.

The plant would provide one-third of the energy needs at the medium security men’s prison with an estimated 4,000 inmates.  The county also would get state credits for the volume of animal waste disposed of using a method that reduces the spread of animal manure across fields as fertilizer. The county anticipates the creation of 40 jobs, many of which would be for truck drivers and technicians.  At least 10 jobs are expected to be permanent positions at the EcoCorp. plant.