Ga. company to do Md. chicken-waste study Manure might be used as fuel at Shore prison

Pollution control

July 28, 1998|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,SUN STAFF

In a step aimed at finding ways to control chicken manure pollution, the state awarded a contract yesterday to a Georgia company to study burning poultry litter at an Eastern Shore prison.

Under the terms of its $145,500 contract, McBurney Corp. of Norcross, Ga., is to conduct a feasibility study and cost analysis of converting the boilers at the Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover from wood chips to chicken waste for the generation of heat and electricity.

The contract was awarded by the Department of Natural Resources' Power Plant Research Office.

James W. Peck, director of the Maryland Environmental Service, which operates the prison's plant, said the McBurney contract could be the first step in the development of a much larger Delmarva power plant fueled by chicken waste.

If everything goes as planned, Peck said, the prison will burn about 43,000 tons of chicken waste a year. "That is only about 10 percent of what is produced in Maryland," he said.

Peck said the state is looking at the possibility of a much larger complex proposed this year by London-based Fibrowatt Ltd., in conjunction with a division of AAI Corp. in Cockeysville.

"Fibrowatt has three electric power plants operating now overseas that burn 700,000 tons of manure. That's equivalent to what is produced in the Delmarva region each year," Peck said.

Mickey Tate, head of engineering at McBurney, stressed that the company would focus on the burning of chicken litter, which is composed of the manure plus the wood chips that go in the bottom of the litter troughs.

"We're not designing something that burns 100 percent manure," he said.

Tate said privately held McBurney is an 85-year-old design, construction and engineering company that specializes in steam boiler and power plants.

Concerning the possibility of a larger project, Peck said a Fibrowatt plant would be too expensive now but was a possibility in the future.

He noted that Congress is considering legislation that would allow the federal government to subsidize such plants in an attempt to control pollution from animal waste across the country.

Peck said the state also might award a smaller contract to Fibrowatt for its technical assistance.

"This is something new for us," he said. "We want to make sure that going into this project we have the greatest possible chance for success."

In addition to the burning of manure, McBurney is to look into the cost of transport, boiler emissions and ash management.

Its work is to be completed early next year. Peck said construction could begin later in the year.

Pub Date: 7/28/98

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