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Poultry waste to power energy plant

Olivera Egg Ranch in French Camp, CA USA, plans to install a 1.4-megawatt fuel cell electrical plant, powered by methane from more than 1 million pounds of poultry waste per week, reducing both its electric bills and waste disposal costs. The system may also help ease the egg farm's impact on neighbours who have sued Olivera over noxious ammonia emissions from its manure lagoons.

Construction of a manure digester should begin in October. Methane and other flammable gases produced by the digester will probably be burned off until the fuel cell is delivered early in 2011.

In a 22-day process, wastes flowing through the digester will emerge, heat-sterilized, as peat moss-like solids suitable for animal bedding and liquids to be used as soil amendments. Once the fuel cell is in operation, emissions will be minimized.
"The exhaust gas from the fuel cell is pretty much water vapor,"  a spokesman of G3 Power Systems said. It will give off very little nitrogen oxides or sulfur oxides. "Our exhaust is very clean."
Power plant manufacturer FuelCell Energy Inc. announced earlier this month that it had sold a 1.4-megawatt fuel cell power system to G3 Power Systems for the Olivera project. According to FuelCell Energy, emissions are negligible, because there is no combustion.
The power plant will meet roughly all the power needs of the egg ranch, and heat from the fuel cell conversion process will go to the anaerobic digester, boosting its efficiency.
"Renewable biogas applications, such as this project for Olivera Egg Ranch, demonstrate how a fuel cell can help food processing and agricultural operations manage their waste streams, improve their economics and generate clean electricity," said Chip Bottone, senior vice president of FuelCell Energy.

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