New York: According to a recent study excreta from chickens, turkeys and other poultry, when converted to combustible solid biomass fuel could be used a renewable energy source replacing coal.
The study was published in the journal Applied Energy. It showed that treated poultry excrement could be an alternate energy source which can replace approximately 10 percent of coal used in electricity generation which would directly reduce the greenhouse gases.
While biomass accounts for 73 percent of renewable energy production worldwide, crops grown for energy production burden land, water and fertiliser resources.
The researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel have noted that disposal of poultry excreta has now become a significant problem.
The researchers said, “Converting poultry waste to solid fuel, a less resource-intensive, renewable energy source is an environmentally superior alternative that also reduces reliance on fossil fuels.”
The team evaluated two bio-fuel types to determine which is the more efficient poultry waste solid fuel and then compared the production, combustion and gas emissions of biochar, which is produced by slow heating of the biomass at a temperature of 450 degrees Celsius in an oxygen-free furnace with hydrochar.
Hydrochar is produced by heating wet biomass to a much lower temperature of up to 250 degrees Celsius under pressure using a process called hydrothermal carbonisation (HTC). HTC mimics natural coal formation within several hours.
“We found that poultry waste processed as hydrochar produced 24 per cent higher net energy generation,” said Professor Amit Gross.
He added, “Poultry waste hydrochar generates heat at high temperatures and combusts in a similar manner to coal, an important factor in replacing it as renewable energy source” further explaining he said,”This investigation helped in bridging the gap between hydrochar being considered as a potential energy source toward the development of an alternative renewable fuel.”