Poultry litter turned into bio-oil

Aug. 20, 2007 at 12:25 PM
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BLACKSBURG, Va., Aug. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists are developing portable pyrolysis units that can convert poultry litter into bio-oil in a system that addresses biosecurity issues.

Virginia Tech Associate Professor Foster Agblevor, who is leading the research, said the technology can convert poultry litter into three value-added byproducts -- pyrodiesel, producer gas, and fertilizer.

The pyrolysis unit heats the litter until it vaporizes, the scientists said. The vapor is then condensed to produce the bio-oil and a slow-release fertilizer is recovered from the reactor. The gas can then be used to operate the pyrolysis unit, thereby making it a self-sufficient system.

More than 5.6 million tons of poultry litter are produced each year in the United States.

“The self-contained transportable pyrolsis unit will allow poultry producers to process the litter on site rather than having to haul the litter to a separate location,” Agblevor said. “In addition, the thermochemical process destroys the microorganisms reducing the likelihood of the transmission of disease to other locations.”

The research that included Sedat Beis, Seung-Soo-Kim and graduate students Ryan Tarrant and Ofei Mante was presented Monday in Boston during the 234th national meeting of the American Chemical Society.

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