The Energy Potential of Chicken Droppings

Posted by Trish Riley, July 16, 2009

©Trish Riley 2009We often hear that renewable fuels won’t work for us because they’re not sufficiently developed to meet the energy demand of our nation or the world. Power industry flaks tell us that’s why we’re going to have to stick with oil, coal and nuclear power. But there are two factors they routinely leave out: 1) We have the potential to reduce our energy usage by as much as half (California has already demonstrated this), which doubles the potential for renewables to fill our needs, and 2) While solar or wind alone can’t – at this point – meet our needs, a blend of renewable resources has potential.

The only way we’ll be able to transition to alternative fuels is to establish a variety of resources. This one on burning poop sounds like a good way to reduce waste and eliminate CO2 emissions while producing energy. […]

A growing number of environmentally-minded poultry farmers in the United States, Canada and Australia are looking to peck away at their greenhouse gas emissions by transforming chicken dung into biochar fertilizer, as well as biogas and a form of bio-oil that can be used to run farm operations.

Central to the process is an old technology known as pyrolysis, which has attracted renewed attention from engineers and scientists. Pyrolysis involves cooking biomass (corn husks, manure, etc.) in the absence of oxygen, thus preventing the release of carbon.

Tom Riley, director for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture’s Public Policy Center, told Manure Manager Magazine: “Our country needs alternative sources of energy to balance against the world’s growing demand for petroleum-based energy.”

via The Energy Potential of Chicken Droppings – Green Inc. Blog – NYTimes.com.