Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Cargill to convert poultry manure into energy

Cargill’s European poultry business has signed a 20-year agreement with the Irish agri-tech company, BHSL, to convert poultry manure to energy with BHSL’s innovative technology on its Shobdon and Hangar poultry farm in Herefordshire, U.K.
BHSL, the Limerick-based agri-tech company, will build a 1 megawatt plant on the farm to use some 3,500 metric tons of poultry litter a year to generate heat and electricity. This initiative demonstrates Cargill’s continued industry leadership through innovation and will set new standards in poultry production for the next decade
The 1,000 square meter Approved Energy Center and fuel store will contain the BHSL Fluidized Bed Combustion (FBC) plant, toploaders, and a Heliex electricity generation plant. A 3-kilometer district heating network and heaters for 13 poultry houses will also be installed.
BHSL will fund complete solutions in the U.K. for the poultry industry, whereby the company will design, build, finance, operate and maintain Manure-to-Energy facilities on independent growers’ or poultry integrator farms.

Regulation and approval of poultry manure project

The heat and electricity generated on the Shobdon and Hangar poultry farm qualifies for the U.K. Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs).
The commissioning and operation of the new BHSL energy centre in Herefordshire will be approved and regulated by the U.K. Animal and Plant Health Agency  (APHA)
BHSL championed the development of the new rules for on-farm combustion of poultry manure at European Commission level, in close collaboration with the U.K. and Irish governments, on behalf of the European poultry industry. The resulting rules reclassified poultry manure as a valuable Animal By-Product for on-farm combustion, which meets emissions animal health and human health standards.
BHSL technology is currently the only approved system under the new European regulations EU 592/2014 that became law in July 2014.

Environmental and economic benefits

John Reed, agriculture director, Cargill Meats Europe, said the company had selected BHSL for a number of reasons:
  • The BHSL system is an innovative energy solution, which will allow Cargill to operate its own sustainable on-farm energy supply.
  • Litter from the farms will provide a consistent, dry and renewable fuel source and the enclosed manure handling system will help to improve biosecurity on and off farm.
  • The clean, dry heat provides enhanced environmental conditions that not only provide energy savings but provide performance and bird welfare benefits.
  • The system also carries significant environmental benefits, which includes low carbon production, reduced ammonia emissions and ground water protection.
  • Sustainability is at the forefront of Cargill’s stakeholder and customer expectations and the company believes this project provides an opportunity to demonstrate good agricultural practice in bird performance and responsible litter disposal.
Sean Fitzpatrick, BHSL commercial director, said that the conversion of manure to energy presents a transformational opportunity to the poultry industry - not just in the U.K. but globally.   He stated: “We are extremely excited to be working with Cargill, and helping them to extend their leadership in Sustainable Food Production. Cargill will be the first to leverage the proven benefits of using poultry manure on the farm to generate heat and electricity. This is a genuine Game Changer for the poultry industry, for the first time the by-product (manure) from chicken production is used as a low cost energy source to grow chicken sustainably and efficiently.”
BHSL pioneered the development of its energy system in response to restrictions in poultry manure spreading in Southwest Ireland that are becoming increasingly common worldwide. For example, BHSL’s unique technology has recently secured its first contract in the United States with the USDA in Maryland, which is tackling equivalent water quality challenges in the Chesapeake Bay region.

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