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Turkey producer to process litter into energy

By Staff | May 10, 2012

WEBSTER CITY – The Energy & Environmental Research Center at the University of North Dakota announced on May 1 it is leading a project, in partnership with DenYon Energy LLC, of Webster City, and the U.S. Department of Energy, to perform testing in an advanced fixed-bed gasifier to convert poultry waste to energy and other value-added products.

The proprietary technology has been licensed by the EERC Foundation to DenYon Energy for commercialization in the poultry industry.

The EERC will run several weeks of pilot-scale tests to determine the efficiency and performance of the system using poultry litter and other waste materials as fuel. The testing will determine what challenges need to be overcome to bring the waste-to-energy technology to the commercial marketplace.

Dennis Weis, a Webster- City-area turkey grower, who formed DenYon Energy LLC, said the gasification system is set to be installed on his farm in 2013.

“We are trying to achieve a complete solution for the poultry industry with this distributed energy technology,” said Nikhil Patel, research scientist and project manager, and inventor of the technology. “A distributed-scale energy and by-product recovery process is an emerging need in the poultry industry.

“This project can lead to environmental and economic sustainability by helping a major food processing industry eliminate waste and become more energy self-reliant.

“In essence, poultry farms around the globe could use their own waste to supply lower-cost energy to their operations and reduce disposal challenges.”

Poultry litter is a complex combustible mixture. The EERC’s AFBG system is capable of converting litter into a clean, combustible mixture of gases, commonly known as synthetic gas, or syngas.

The syngas can be used as a direct fuel for electricity and heat production. A farm generating 3,000 tons a year of waste could produce about 280 kilowatts of electricity using an engine generator, enough to supply about 150 homes with their average annual electricity needs.

“In addition, the process can effectively recover by-products that may have unique applications within existing markets,” said Patel.

“The gasification process can thus open up a new avenue to convert a potential disposal liability into an opportunity feedstock for all sizes of poultry farms.”

“One of the main strategic initiatives at the EERC is distributed generation projects like this one that provide practical, environmentally sound solutions for our client’s site-specific needs,” said EERC Director Gerald Groenewold.

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