2 firms picked for chicken waste projects

February 03, 1999|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,SUN STAFF

The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development has selected two companies and plans to select a third that it will help finance with projects to dispose of excess chicken manure on the Eastern Shore.

The programs are financed by the Animal Waste Technology Fund, which was established by the General Assembly last year to provide grants or loans to entrepreneurs who are developing alternatives to land application of manure. The fund is administered by DBED and is slated to receive $3 million over three years.

The first round of competition included proposals from 36 companies; selected thus far:

N-Viro International Corp. of Toledo, Ohio. N-Viro is to receive $73,000 over two years for research involving the mixing of chicken manure with the high acid soils that are a byproduct of mining operations, and using the enriched soil as a landfill cover.

Eastern Shore Forest Products Co. in Salisbury. The company supplies wood chips that are used as bedding in chicken houses. Company President Thomas Johnson said the company would clean out chicken houses and separate the manure from the wood chips. The manure would go to a plant to be made into fertilizer.

The chips would be pressed into pellets about an inch in diameter. The pellets would be used in a gasifier to produce a product similar to natural gas. The gas would be used to produce steam for industrial plants.

Robert C. Brennan, assist secretary and head of DBED's financing division, said yesterday that the department has not determined the amount of funding to be awarded Eastern Shore Forest.

He said two other companies -- AgriRecycle Inc. of Springfield, Mo., and Dynamic Lifter of New South Wales, Australia, offer very similar technology that would compost the manure and turn it into fertilizer.

All the selected companies would build plants in Maryland.

Scientists suspect that nutrient runoff from fields in which chicken manure was used as fertilizer contributed to Pfiesteria outbreaks in 1997.

Pub Date: 2/03/99

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