Energy, Fertilizer From Tons of Tyson Chicken Litter

Energy, Fertilizer From Tons of Tyson Chicken Litter

August 13, 2001 – Tyson Foods, Inc. and an energy provider said they have joined forces on a project to develop alternative uses for approximately 85,000 tons of chicken litter a year.

The companies said they will construct a gasification facility adjacent to the Tyson Foods poultry processing plant in Temperanceville, VA, that will convert Tyson's chicken waste, as well as sludge from its wastewater treatment plants in Temperanceville and Berlin, MD, to steam energy for use in Tyson’s Temperanceville protein conversion plant.

The primary by-product of the gasification system is an ash high in nutrients that will be sold to fertilizer manufacturers.

The gasification technology, developed by Renewable Energy and in use in more than 600 similar units worldwide, is billed as efficient and environmentally clean. The process could dramatically reduce sulfur emissions from conventional boilers, and will significantly reduce the current land application of chicken litter (by 82,000 tons annually) and DAF sludge (by approximately 30,000 tons annually) in the Chesapeake Bay region, according to a Tyson press release.

“We have searched long and hard for the right technology and the right partner with which to join forces,” said Greg Lee, Tyson Foods chief operating officer. “While our growers in the Delmarva Region have been very responsible stewards of the land, utilizing Best Management Practices in the use of their litter to protect the local environment, this facility will provide yet another attractive alternative, as we continue to work hard to protect and preserve the Chesapeake Bay region.”

Renewable Energy will build and operate the new energy facility: two gasification units side by side with the capacity to produce 120,000 lbs/hr of steam. Tyson will use that steam to power its nearby protein conversion plant.

“Renewable Energy is delighted to be partnering with Tyson Foods on this project,” said Ross McRoy, P.E., Renewable’s project director. “We are convinced that biomass conversion is one of the key solutions to addressing the energy crunch in America, while being environmentally friendly at the same time. This project will give us, and the poultry industry, the opportunity to clearly demonstrate our belief.”

According to Tyson, the project will cost approximately $12 million to get off the ground. Construction should be complete in approximately 18 months.

Renewable Energy will contract with growers interested in making their litter available for the project. The DAF sludge used in the process will come from Tyson’s wastewater treatment plants in both Temperanceville and Berlin, MD.

Tyson's area hatcheries also will send their waste to be used in the process. All raw materials will be delivered to the plant in tank trucks or covered trailers. A negative-pressure handling system should satisfy dust and odor concerns, Tyson said.