Arlington, Va.-based EcoCorp is contracting with farmers to transport 8,000 tons of chicken manure annually within 15 miles to Eastern Correctional Institution, said John G. Ingersoll, president and chief executive of EcoCorp. The company would pay 1 cent per pound of chicken litter, or about $20 per ton in today's market. In all, that's $160,000 for 8,000 tons, he said.
The 1-megawatt Westover plant, designed to supply one-third of the electricity needs at ECI, would be EcoCorp's first on Delmarva -- but likely not its last. The company envisions 25 similar facilities throughout Delmarva, offering more farmers the opportunity to sell chicken litter to EcoCorp, Ingersoll said.So, 25 1 Megawatt power plants using chicken shit will use approximately one fourth of the chicken shit produced on the Eastern Shore, and produce approximately one hundredth of the electric power of the nuke plant across the bay (1,800 MW). Not to belittle the idea, but it's not going to make a big dent in either chicken waste disposal or the regions power budget,
Benefits could be more far-reaching for a region where poultry litter is blamed for nutrient pollution critics say has crippled life in the Chesapeake Bay. According to a recent agricultural and resource economics report from the University of Maryland, more than 700,000 tons of poultry litter are produced annually on the Delmarva Peninsula.
"There's more (available) than we need," Ingersoll said. "There's 800,000 tons of poultry litter on Delmarva alone, according to (poultry) sources."
Once constructed, EcoCorp's 25 manure-to-electricity plants are expected to process an estimated 200,000 annual tons of chicken litter -- between one-third and one-fourth the total amount of poultry waste generated in the region.