Greg Langmo is a turkey farmer in Minnesota. With some 16,000 hen turkeys, he has a barn full of, well, fuel. According to the Associated Press, turkey litter is fast becoming a new source of energy.
Langmo has some 750 tons of it. This is good news to Fibrowatt LLC. They are developing a $200 million power plant that is scheduled to be in production next month. This will be the first power plant in the U.S. to be fired by poultry litter.
The Associated Press reported today that this energy plant should produce enough energy or 50,000 households. The developers of this power plant are working on taking this ingenuity to other major poultry states.
So far, according to Fibrowatt, Mississippi, Maryland and Minnesota are the states in which they are developing this technology.
Poultry litter is made up of a combination of droppings, wood chips, seed hulls, shed feathers and spilled feed. Poultry farmers have been selling the stuff for years as fertilizer. The only problem is the nitrates and phosphates that build up in soil and groundwater. Poultry producers everywhere have seeking and alternative, according to the Associated Press.
The Associated Press reported that Minnesota is the nation’s largest turkey-producing state. When the farmers learned about Fibrowatt’s success in the 1990’s in developing biomass power plants, they contacted the company. In turn, Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy Inc. was seeking new sources of renewable energy. A mandate imposed by the Minnesota Legislature requires the company to get 110 megawatts of power from biomass a year.
Langmo said, according to the Associated Press, selling litter for fuel gives poultry farmers a new source of revenue. The farmers will be getting much the same as if they were selling the litter as fertilizer, $3 to $5 a ton.
There is an advantage, though. Farmers don’t have to pile the litter, where it can draw flies and cause bothersome odors. Fibrominn will come take it out of the way.
There are scoffers to the new power plant. David Morris is a long time critic of the poultry litter plants. The executive director of the Center for Local Self-Reliance, said using turkey litter as fuel defeats the purpose. Morris said Xcel Energy’s customers will be paying higher rates for their electricity because it will cost more to produce than wind power or conventional power, according to the Associated Press.
Still, in this day of high fuel costs and Earth saving efforts, it is something to consider.
Read more about this great new source of energy here.
Source: Steve Karnowski, Associated Press Writer; Turkey Waste Will Power Electric Plant