A collaboration led by the University of North Dakota's Energy & Environmental Research Center is looking at whether poultry waste can be converted to energy and other byproducts using an advanced fixed-bed gasifier.

The project, being conducted in cooperation with DenYon Energy and the U.S. Department of Energy, will begin with several weeks of pilot-scale tests to assess efficiency and performance of the system. Both poultry litter and other waste materials from the industry will be tested as fuel. Ultimately, the test will be able to identify the barriers and challenges that need to be overcome to bring the technology to commercial scale, according to the researchers.


“We are trying to achieve a complete solution for the poultry industry with this distributed energy technology,” said Nikhil Patel, research scientist, project manager and inventor of the technology. “A distributed-scale energy and by-product recovery process is an emerging need in the poultry industry. This project can lead to environmental and economic sustainability by helping a major food processing industry eliminate waste and become more energy self-reliant.”

If the technology works, it is estimated that a farm generating 3,000 tons a year of waste could produce about 280 kilowatts of power, enough to supply all the electricity needed for one year for nearly 150 average-sized homes.