Getting Value from Turkey Production Wastes

As part of its mission to produce naturally grown turkeys and turkey products in a responsible manner, a northeastern farm worked with the state’s energy department to develop a plan to maximize the beneficial handling of organic wastes in an environmentally acceptable manner.

As you would imagine, the raising and processing of turkeys generates a number of waste streams that require proper handling. With the ever-increasing demand for electrical and thermal energy in a growing food plant, the concept of anaerobically digesting the wastes and producing biogas was of immense interest. Through the energy department’s technical assistance program, the farm received matching funds to hire ATI to conduct an engineering study to determine the technical and economic feasibility of anaerobically digesting the organic waste streams and producing reusable energy.

The study concluded that anaerobic digestion of a combination of turkey manure and processing plant wastes was economically feasible. The recommended technology was the anaerobic contact process, a technology suitable to handle the high solids waste streams from the farm. The estimated biogas production was 130 cubic feet per minute with a methane content of approximately 70%. An evaluation of bio-power technologies for the cogeneration of electrical power and thermal energy resulted in the recommendation of a reciprocating engine cogeneration system.

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