Manure Manager

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MDA awards $970,000 for new manure management tech


November 5, 2014, Annapolis, MD – The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) recently awarded a $970,000 grant to Biomass Heating Solutions, Inc. (BHSL), for a manure-to-energy project at a Dorchester County poultry farm.

BHSL will use electricity generating technology (fluidized bed combustion) to process poultry litter into energy for heating and cooling four poultry houses. The system is projected to generate 526 MWh of electricity per year. Adding heat to poultry houses has been proven at other sites to improve the flock growth rate and overall bird health. These benefits will enhance potential profit margins, reduce payback period for the technology and improve the likelihood of transferability to other poultry operations. The farmer, Brad Murphy, is exploring markets for the high-phosphorus ash by-product including Maryland fertilizer companies. As a result of energy production and marketing the ash, 90 percent of nutrients in the poultry litter produced by 14 poultry houses will have alternative uses.

BHSL is honoured and excited to have been chosen to demonstrate its technology solution for converting manure to energy on a Maryland farm. Our innovative Fluidized Bed Technology is already transforming the poultry industry in the UK and we look forward to emulating our sustainable food production model whilst protecting the environment,” said BHSL CEO Declan O’Connor. “Our solution for on-farm conversion of manure to heating, cooling and electricity is a proven alternative to land spreading or large scale power plants.”

Maryland’s Animal Waste Technology Fund provides incentives to companies that demonstrate new technologies on farms and provide alternative strategies for managing animal manure. These technologies generate energy from animal manure, reduce on-farm waste streams, and repurpose manure by creating marketable fertilizer and other products and by-products. MDA awarded $2 million from 2014 program funds. In 2015, $3 million will be available for a new round of projects to demonstrate innovative manure management technologies.

In January 2014, MDA issued a Request for Proposals for demonstration projects with proven and innovative technologies that manage agricultural manure and on-farm generated waste in a manner that improves its utility as a fertilizer, changes its form or function for alternative uses, or produces energy or other marketable products. The overall outcome of the technology will result in reduction of nitrogen and/or phosphorus movement to surface waters associated with animal manure produced on farms in Maryland.

Maryland’s nutrient management regulations govern the amount, timing, and placement of crop nutrients—including manure and other organic nutrient sources—on agricultural land to prevent excess nutrients from impacting waterways. To help poultry and livestock producers comply with the regulations, Maryland is supporting and investing in alternative uses for manure such as fertilizer manufacturing, composting and manure-to-energy projects, and the development of new products that add value to improve farm viability.

MDA received eight bids, which were reviewed by a six-member technical review subcommittee. The subcommittee represented diverse skill sets and backgrounds and its members were chosen from the 20-member advisory committee for the Animal Waste Technology Fund.