Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder toured the Murphy family’s Double Trouble Farm – the first Maryland poultry operation to install technology that converts poultry waste to energy.
The system was developed by an Irish company with support from poultry producer Mountaire, which has administrative offices and processing operations in Delaware.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture awarded a $970,000 animal waste technology grant to Biomass Heating Solutions, Inc (BHSL) for the manure-to-energy project and an additional $139,000 to monitor its operation for one year at the farm in Dorchester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
“I am proud to recognize the Murphy family for bringing this innovative technology to Maryland,” said Hogan. “I commend the Murphys and the entire Double Trouble Farm team for leading the way for farmers to improve water quality, increase energy independence, and improve animal waste management to ensure the sustainability of animal agriculture in our state.”
Maryland’s Animal Waste Technology Fund is a grant program that provides seed funding to companies that demonstrate technologies to manage or repurpose manure resources. To date, the program has approved $3.7 million in grants to six projects.
“Biomass Heating Solutions, Inc, with the support of Mountaire, has adapted innovative manure management technology to benefit the poultry industry and the Murphy family’s farm. The system utilizes poultry litter as a feedstock by converting it to energy to heat the farm’s chicken houses and generate electricity,” said Bartenfelder. “A great deal of credit goes to the Murphy family for taking the time and risk involved in being the test case for a promising new way of doing business.”
This project has the following benefits, according to backers:
- Reduced environmental impact: A reduction in the potential environmental impact of manure resources
- Lower energy costs: A reduction in energy costs through using heat from the manure as a source for heating poultry houses
- Improved animal welfare: Improved animal welfare, with improved health and reduced risk of diseases
- Improved performance: Faster growth – poultry reaching target weight more quickly
- Additional revenue: Potential expansion of revenue streams – earnings from the sale of excess electricity and a fertilizer by-product
“I am excited that a unique piece of technology designed in Ireland is going to transform US poultry production and play a crucial role in reducing the environmental impact of the industry on the Chesapeake Bay,” Biomass Heating Solutions, Inc. Chairman Denis Brosnan. “I hope this pilot project is the start of a broader initiative to turn poultry manure from a potential pollutant into a valuable source of energy.”
Biomass Heating Solutions, Inc. will use electricity generating technology (fluidized bed combustion) to process poultry litter into energy for heating two of four poultry houses during the demonstration period. The system is projected to generate 526 megawatts of electricity per year. Adding heat to poultry houses has been proven at other sites to improve the flock growth rate and overall bird health.
The Murphys are working with BHSL to explore markets for the high-phosphorus ash by-product including Maryland fertilizer companies. As a result of energy production and marketing the ash, 90 percent of nutrients in the poultry litter produced by 14 poultry houses will have alternative uses.
“Mountaire is excited about the potential that new alternative use technologies for litter bring to the poultry industry,” said Mountaire Director of Housing and Feed Milling Bill Massey. “We will continue to work with the Murphys, MDA and BHSL on this manure to energy project. Our company and our industry continue to look for solutions to be good environmental stewards.”
Maryland farms produce poultry waste that is often spread on fields and contributes to nutrient problems in the Chesapeake Bay. The state and producers have worked on solutions that include shipping the waste to a Perdue site in Sussex County, DE that converts waste to fertilizer. That site was recently expanded.