Dallas, Texas-based Panda Ethanol Inc. was granted an air permit for its planned 115 million-gallons-per-year ethanol refinery in Muleshoe, Texas. The facility will be designed to annually refine an estimated 38 million bushels of feedstock-grade corn into clean-burning, renewable fuels for the nation’s transportation needs, which could displace approximately 2.6 million barrels of foreign oil per year.

The facility will be engineered to gasify up to 1 billion pounds of cattle manure per year rather than use natural gas to generate the steam used in the ethanol manufacturing process. By using biogas to fuel the plant, Panda expects to conserve the energy equivalent of 1,000 barrels of oil a day and help to address a significant environmental problem for the Texas Panhandle.

Once built, the Muleshoe refinery should be equal in size to the firm’s Hereford facility, currently nearing completion.