Friday, December 16, 2011

Perdue and Fibrowatt Propose Chicken $#!* Burning Power Plant

Perdue AgriBusiness and Fibrowatt Submitt Proposal To State of Maryland
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 idea of burning chicken manure for energy production (with the added benefit of nutrient removal) has been controversial in the environmental community.  On the plus side, it does remove nutrients that would otherwise likely be spread on farmland and end up contributing to the eutrophication problems in Chesapeake Bay.  On the minus side, it requires transporting chicken $#!* from around the eastern shore for to a central area for burning, with the attendant truck traffic and inevitable  spills, there are burning wasted disposal issues, and burning obscure fuels tends not to be the cleanest way to produce power.  And 10 MW really isn't all that much.  If people expect to make significant inroads to the power production that will be needed for plug in electric cars, let me assure you, this isn't it. I was just on the grounds of a coal-burning power plant producing over 2 gigawatts (2,000 MW), and the scale of everything, good and bad, is very impressive.

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