Poultry plant moves to renewable energy

04/06/05

The system devised by Banham Power, a division of Banham Poultry, will be able to generate all the electricity it needs to run its business and also provide a 2MW surplus to sell on. The technologies - pyrolysis and gasification - have been used successfully elsewhere but have not previously been put together to process this type of waste.

Development engineer Bob Waterson says: "Nobody has put all these parts together before, but we thought why can't we do it at our plant. Every abattoir could have its own generator on site - they could all have their own modular power plant providing all their electricity."

He is even confident the design can stretch beyond animal by-products. "Our design could even be used for burning car tires for power," he says.

Banham Power is available to discuss its process. The technology is proven, and the project is backed by the CRed carbon reduction campaign, the National Farmers Union, the poultry industry and Environment Agency.

Family-owned Banham Poultry, based in Norfolk, employs around 750 people and its fully integrated business covers farming, processing and distribution of chickens. Birds are processed at a rate of up to 600,000 per week.

Banham Power will be linked to slaughterhouse via. a sealed pipeline. The company is already very concerned about the smells created by its business and its power project, and has spent Ł1.5 million on a program of odor control. Waterson describes its processing system as the "Rolls Royce of odor treatment".

The by-products of poultry and other meat have to be disposed of through rendering and incineration, which increases production costs. Faced with this Banham has developed and patented plans for a plant where the by-products are shredded, dried and then subjected to thermal treatment under contained conditions to produce a combustible gas. This can then be used to power the continuing process, run a deodorizing unit and fuel an electricity generator.

Waterson said, "The base principle is gasification - we're drying the innards which come out of an abattoir and burning it in an oxygen free environment."

Since no oxygen is present, incineration is not involved and the product qualifies as renewable energy.

Banham's plant is intended to be capable of handling up to 1200 tons of material per week. The plant's full capacity output will be 5.5 MW.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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