SALISBURY, Md. – A proposal that calls for a combined heat and power biomass boiler operation that would be located at the Perdue AgriBusiness (PAI) complex near Salisbury, Md., was submitted to the state of Maryland in partnership with Fibrowatt LLC. The proposed facility would provide 10 megawatts of electricity to Maryland, as well as up to 70,000 lbs. per hour of steam, to the Perdue AgriBusiness complex.

A combination of poultry litter, layer hen manure, wood chips and other locally sourced biomass would be the source of the renewable fuel.

Perdue said this proposed project is another move forward in its commitment to environmental responsibility through its renewable/alternative energy initiatives, such as solar power installations, biomass energy partnerships and a litter-to-energy initiative. At present, PAI uses fossil fuel to generate steam. The steam provides heat during various steps of soybean processing and poultry feed manufacturing.

A team conducted a review of available technologies to convert poultry litter to energy during the past two years, during which time it met with more than 45 companies and evaluated five technology categories.

"Our conclusion at this point is that the only commercially viable technology is combustion,” said Dick Willey, president of Perdue AgriBusiness, a Perdue business. “The other technologies, while promising to varying degrees, represent a significant risk of project failure compared to combustion,"

Based on Perdue AgriBusiness' track record of providing alternatives for land application of poultry litter and experience in alternative energy projects, the Clean Bay Energy program makes sense, the company claims. Perdue AgriBusiness established subsidiary Perdue AgriRecycle LLC in 2001. It converts poultry litter to a pasteurized, pelletized organic fertilizer, providing poultry growers with a management alternative for their litter.

Perdue AgriRecycle has shipped approximately 12 million lbs. of nitrogen and 7.5 million lbs. of phosphorous (P2O5) out of the Chesapeake Bay watershed since starting operations. Through Perdue AgriRecycle, Perdue AgriBusiness is the largest buyer of poultry litter in Maryland.

Perdue AgriBusiness is also experienced in numerous alternative/renewable energy projects, sourcing feedstock and/or partnering with other companies on biodiesel, ethanol, solar and biomass projects. It currently operates two biomass boiler operations – using wood, peanut hulls and cotton-gin waste – in North Carolina. These combined heat and power operations provide process steam and electricity.

The company claims its proposed facility will use the most state-of-the-art emissions-control systems ever applied to a biomass power plant. By converting power and steam production from a fossil fuel to a renewable fuel, the company said the project will reduce green house gas emissions by an estimated 165,000 tons of CO2 per year. Ash produced from the process will be used as a fertilizer by-product.