Perdue AgriBusiness  and partner Fibrowatt LLC  have submitted  a project proposal to the state of Maryland to build a biomass boiler facility that would be fueled in large part by poultry litter.
Strange though it might seem the proposal was submitted in response to Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's request  for project proposals that generate electricity from manure based fuel. The state is calling the project the Clean Bay Power project and is seeking to purchase up to 10 MW electricity generated from animal waste "such as poultry litter or livestock manure".
The successful bidder will have until 2015 to be feeding fecal power to the grid helping Maryland reach its goal to generate 20% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2022.
The Perdue AgriBusiness/Fibrowatt LLC facility, to be located at the Perdue AgriBusiness Zion Church Road complex, would generate 10 MW of electricity (the maximum capacity stipulated in the state's Request for Proposals) and up to 70,000 pounds per hour of steam by burning poultry litter, layer hen manure, wood chips and other locally sourced biomass. The electricity will be fed into regional power grid to the state and the steam will be used at the Perdue AgriBusiness complex.
Currently Perdue AgriBusiness uses fossil fuel to generate the steam it needs for processing soybeans and poultry feed. The company claims that by using biomass to fire the boiler it will its carbon footprint by 165,000 tons of CO2 annually.
Perdue AgriBusiness is no stranger to chicken poop. The company is a subsidiary of Perdue Farms Inc. , the third largest processor of conventional chicken, and amongst its business ventures is the recycling and sale of poultry litter. It operates the first-ever large-scale facility for manufacturing organic fertilizer products from surplus chicken litter.
Fibrowatt, a Homeland Renewable Energy Group subsidiary, is soley in the business of converting chicken litter into energy. The company describes itself as a developer of litter fueled power plants and operates the 55 MW Fibrominn Biomass Power Plant which combusts over 700,000 tons of litter a year.
In addition to producing renewable energy the proposed project will also help protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed. According to Perdue AgriBusiness President Dick Willey “this project will remove a significant amount of poultry litter from land application, thereby eliminating the risk of any portion of the nitrogen or phosphorous in this litter or manure from finding its way into the watershed."
Image Credit: Scrap Pile  via Flickr.