Monday, March 23, 2015

Plant would turn chicken manure into energy as one way to clean up Chesapeake Bay

Chicken manure could soon be turned into viable energy. New Hampshire-based AgEnergyUSA "has teamed with poultry giant Perdue to propose a $200 million plant on the Eastern Shore to extract energy from chicken manure, offering its plan as a viable remedy for the farm pollution fouling the Chesapeake Bay," Timothy B. Wheeler reports for The Baltimore Sun.

"Officials with AgEnergyUSA met in Annapolis last week with lawmakers, state officials, environmentalists and farmers, seeking support and legislation worth tens of millions of dollars for their project," Wheeler writes. "While some remain wary because little has come of previous plans for dealing with the Shore's poultry pollution, this one comes from a company with prominent partners." The company has already constructed a $100 million digestion facility to process cattle manure in Colorado.

AGEnergyUSA's new plan is to "build an 'anaerobic digestion' plant near Salisbury (Md.) that could handle up to 200,000 tons of chicken litter a year—close to what officials estimate is the excess amount being spread on the Shore each year," Wheeler writes. "The plant would use bacteria to extract methane-rich bio-gas for industrial use. The residue would be processed so that the bay-fouling nutrients in chicken waste could be separated and used in a more environmentally friendly manner. The nitrogen could be sold back to farmers as liquid fertilizer, which crops need every year, while the problematic phosphorus that's built up in Shore soils could be shipped elsewhere and sold as peat moss." (Read more)

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