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Thermochemical process converts poultry litter into bio-oil
Date:8/19/2007

Foster Agblevor, associate professor of biological systems engineering, is leading the team of researchers in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (www.cals.vt.edu) at Virginia Tech (www.vt.edu) developing transportable pyrolysis units that will convert poultry litter into bio-oil, providing an economical disposal system while reducing environmental effects and biosecurity issues.

Agblevor will present the research during the 234th American Chemical Society National Meeting in Boston on August 19-23.

Agblevor is working with poultry growers to test technology that would convert poultry litter to three value-added byproducts pyrodiesel (bio-oil), producer gas, and fertilizer. The pyrolysis unit heats the litter until it vaporizes. 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, making it a self-sufficient system.

More than 5.6 million tons of poultry litter are produced each year in the United States. The litter consists of a mixture of bedding, manure, feathers, and spilled feed. According to Agblevor, current disposal methods, such as land application and feeding to cattle, are under pressure because of pollution of water resources due to leaching and runoff and concern about mad cow disease contamination in the food chain. There are also concerns that poultry litter can harbor such diseases as avian influenza. While avian influenza is not harmful to humans, people can spread it on their shoes, with their vehicles, or through movement of litter.

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 transmi
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Contact: Lori Greiner
lgreiner@vt.edu
540-231-5863
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert

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