Wood chips, poultry litter and hen manure could soon be the catalyst for a new clean energy system in the state of Maryland. Perdue AgriBusiness and Fibrowatt have submitted a proposal to the state to create a biomass boiler operation near Salisbury. The plant would provide 10 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the state along with 70,000 pounds of steam per hour.
The partners said they spent the last two years conducting reviews of available technologies to convert poultry litter (a mixture of manure and bedding material) to energy, meeting with more than 45 companies and evaluating five technology categories in the process. By producing power and steam from renewable sources instead of fossil fuels, the new biomass plant is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 165,000 tons annually. And the ash produced in the process can be used as a fertilizer by-product.
In 2007, Benson, Minn., became home to the United States’ first operating poultry litter plant, the Fibrominn Biomass Power Plant. The 55-MM power plant combusts more than 700,000 tons of litter and biomass annually.
“The economic and environmental benefits resulting from the proposed project align the interests of the State, environmental groups and the agriculture sector with the U.S. EPA’s goals of improving the Chesapeake Bay,” Jim Potter, president and chief operating officer of Homeland Renewable Energy, the parent company of Fibrowatt, said in a statement. “This proposed project will continue our successful legacy of developing, financing, constructing and operating power projects that combust poultry litter.”