Chicken Litter Could Be 'Green'

IRREDEL COUNTY - Firm wants to build three N.C. power plants to burn biomass
calendar icon 18 June 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

One day, the truckloads of chicken manure that Donald Johnson spreads on his pasture could instead be turning on the lights in Iredell County. A Pennsylvania-based company, Fibrowatt LLC, wants to build up to three small power plants in North Carolina that would burn chicken litter to generate electricity.

A number of rural counties are interested in hosting plants.

"That's a bright idea," said Johnson, who has been raising chickens near Statesville for 31 years. "I've said it for years that they should use it for fuel."

This year, lawmakers in North Carolina are discussing a requirement that utilities supply a certain amount of electricity from renewable sources such as solar power. North Carolina, which is one of the nation's largest poultry producers, is also one of the leading producers of poultry litter, the combination of wood shavings and manure known as biomass. It's another type of renewable energy that may become part of the "green" mix.

Rupert Fraser, chief executive officer of Fibrowatt, said the state produces more than 3 million tons of poultry litter a year, enough to supply fuel for up to three 50-megawatt power plants -- enough electricity to light an estimated 96,000 houses. The plants would be built in parts of the state where chicken and turkey farms are concentrated: Wilkes County in the mountains, Montgomery County in the central Piedmont, and Duplin and Sampson in the east.

Source: TheNewsAndObserver
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