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Turkey poop, Renewable energy. Really.

 
 
Reply Sat 12 May, 2007 09:16 pm
Turkey Poop Powers Electric Plant

Jackie Crosby - Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune

Greg Langmo likes to say he was just a "fat, dumb and happy turkey farmer" until the summer of 1998. That's when he walked into a meeting of the Meeker County Board and got blindsided by a courthouse full of riled-up residents.

The mounds of manure he and other turkey growers were stockpiling on their farms to sell as fertilizer had become a nuisance, seemingly overnight.

"They said, 'It smells, it creates runoff, it collects flies,' " said Langmo, 48, who raises about a million turkeys a year on his farms near Litchfield. "The commissioners told me to solve the problem or they'd solve it for me."

Langmo placed an S.O.S. call to a British company he'd read about that was turning poultry litter into electricity. Nine years later, his solution has arrived: a $225 million plant an hour away in Benson that will turn poop into power.

The plant, in the heart of west-central Minnesota's turkey farming region, is scheduled to begin operating June 25. It'll be the nation's first large-scale power plant fueled by poultry manure.

More important, supporters say, it will be an important step in the country's quest to develop more sources of renewable energy. About half a million tons of turkey litter will be burned each year, generating enough energy for an estimated 50,000 households.

But the plant comes with controversy. Even in an era when renewable energy has moved from environmental wish lists to mainstream discussions embraced by President Bush, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and labor unions, the business of burning poultry manure has ruffled some feathers.

And not because of the smell, of which there promises to be none.

Turkey litter is a mixture of manure and bedding material, such as wood chips, straw, sunflower shells and feathers. It has provided a low-cost fertilizer to farmers for decades. Some of them now worry that their costs will go up and that there won't be enough litter for their fields if turkey growers can get a better price at the Fibrominn plant.

And although turkey litter may be a renewable source of energy - an estimated 2 million tons of it is generated each year statewide - it takes a lot of poop to make electricity. The mixture doesn't burn as hot as wood, which makes it a labor-intensive and expensive fuel source, critics say. They charge that the "gee-whiz" factor has discouraged research into more creative and economical renewable-energy solutions.

"Being green means being informed and being sophisticated," said David Morris of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, an energy expert and longtime critic of the litter-burning project. "Simply because you're taking a renewable resource and turning it into something else does not mean that it's environmentally benign or economically worthwhile."

But the technology, which applies to turkey and chicken litter, appears to be catching on. As cities expand into farming areas, residents' concerns over disease and run-off pollution from manure are mounting.

Fibrowatt, which built three smaller litter-fired plants in England, has sold them and moved its headquarters to Newtown, Pa. The company has plans for five projects in the poultry-rich states of Arkansas and North Carolina in the next two years, and is looking at sites in Maryland and Mississippi, said Carl Strickler, the chief operating officer.

In Benson, a prairie town of about 3,300 about three hours west of the Twin Cities, many residents consider the litter-burning plant a sign of hope and pride, despite some early fears - and snickers.

Benson Mayor Paul Kittleson admits that he considered the litter-burning plant a featherbrained idea at first. But after giving the sniff test to a plant in Thetford, England, he warmed to the idea.

"Believe me, if it had stunk, they wouldn't be here," he said.

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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 2,485 • Replies: 24
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 May, 2007 09:29 pm
lstening...



I posted about a guy doing energy out of poop a few years ago..

By now there are probably many links to this kind of effort, probably before mine as well.



Seems smart to me, but I don't follow the details.
0 Replies
 
Miller
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 May, 2007 09:39 pm
Quote:
many residents consider the litter-burning plant a sign of hope and pride,


Life in a tiny town must be fun!
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 May, 2007 11:05 pm
It would be more environmentally responsible I think to digest the product and capture the resulting methane for burning to produce energy

or possibly fertilise fields for growing trees for solid fuel
(ie wood/chips/sawdust).

I guess the furnaces could be augmented with tones of (precleaned) houshold rubbish. That would be a good thing.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 May, 2007 11:05 pm
too bad I spelled 'listening' wrong, but I'm still interested in posts on this.
0 Replies
 
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2007 03:07 am
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2007 08:45 am
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2007 08:48 am
too bad bullshit doesn't produce the same effect. we could build a plant in DC.
0 Replies
 
NickFun
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2007 09:10 am
I ca just se myself driving along in a few years suddenly realizing I am running low on turkey poop!
0 Replies
 
Miller
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2007 09:12 am
Keep a wild turkey in the back seat, just in case...
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2007 09:17 am
Miller wrote:
Keep a wild turkey in the back seat, just in case...


Bottle of...
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2007 09:18 am
then even though you're stuck on the side of the road you won't give a ****....
0 Replies
 
Miller
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2007 09:26 am
dadpad wrote:
Miller wrote:
Keep a wild turkey in the back seat, just in case...


Bottle of...


But of course!
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 May, 2007 09:32 am
In Australia, the Green Pacific Energy plant at
Stapylton, Queensland (30km south west of Brisbane)
utilises a fl uidised bed combustion technology to
generate power from green waste. The plant generates
around 25GWh of electricity per annum, and is
connected to the local 11kV distribution system

http://www.nafi.com.au/bioenergy_factsheets/WWFS20.pdf
0 Replies
 
patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 May, 2007 12:49 pm
dadpad wrote:
It would be more environmentally responsible I think to digest the product and capture the resulting methane for burning to produce energy


The operations along this line for cow and human waste (and one or two zoos do it, as well) are wet operations. In the cow operations bedding can gum up the works to the point where it's just not feasible anymore.

That only applies to whole waste, though. I don't know if anybody's done any sort of work in terms of separating fermentable waste from the rest of it -- didn't see any when I was researching manure digesters a couple of years ago.

Wonder, also, how much of the diet fed to turkeys on commercial farms is worth trying to ferment to methane. Certainly they're fed a much higher protein content than cows are, which might lead to more sulfur-containing compounds in the resulting methane, which limits its utility.



...




I don't trust people right now to make nuclear waste safe for people in 200 years.
0 Replies
 
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 May, 2007 04:22 pm
patiodog wrote:
I don't trust people right now to make nuclear waste safe for people in 200 years.
This and DadPad's fears of storage and running out of raw materials are both essentially unfounded in consideration of the newest technologies. The United States is way behind in utilizing this technology. Russia's newest Breeder reactor already has the technology to create as much as 80% of it's own fuel, in the reaction process. It is expected that the Nuclear plant's of the future will operate at a level that produces slightly over 100% of the fuel they use, the excess used to start new plants. Imagine a megawatt power plant that requires about a milk crate size load of Uranium monthly; and reutilizes 100% of it's harmful by product (plutonium) as a matter of course. The Nuclear Power Plants of the not so distant future will accomplish this, and eliminate the need to ever transport dangerous material offsite, let alone store it. I've read about it on several pages now, and it appears to be REAL science.

Americans need to get over their collective phobia about nuclear power. Not one American has ever died from the nuclear power process, despite the fact that 20% of our power already comes from this source. 100's die every year in train accidents, related to our coal fired plants. Do I even need to bring up a greenhouse gas comparison (Zero Vs...).

Ps. Dadpad: Do us all a favor give some indication when you're quoting another's work.
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 May, 2007 04:59 pm
missed posting the link unintentionally O'Bill.

Quote:
Not one American has ever died from the nuclear power process, despite the fact that 20% of our power already comes from this source.


America prefer to concentrate on killing people of other races/countries.

Out of sight out of mind.

This attitude seems to apply to energy consumption as well.

Reduce Reuse Recycle.
0 Replies
 
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 May, 2007 08:32 pm
dadpad wrote:
missed posting the link unintentionally O'Bill.
No biggie... I just hate reading someone's response, only to learn it isn't really theirs.

dadpad wrote:
Quote:
Not one American has ever died from the nuclear power process, despite the fact that 20% of our power already comes from this source.


America prefer to concentrate on killing people of other races/countries.

Out of sight out of mind.

This attitude seems to apply to energy consumption as well.
WTF does that idiotic BS have to do with an energy thread? Whimper about our foreign policy elsewhere, please.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 May, 2007 09:26 pm
Y'know, this isn't useful to most of us.
0 Replies
 
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2007 12:54 am
ossobuco wrote:
Y'know, this isn't useful to most of us.
Not to ANY of us Osso. It's not hard to find an appropriate thread to argue politics with me. This isn't it.
0 Replies
 
 

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