Institute for Combustion Science
Chicken Waste Project
A study of the combustion behavior of co-firing poultry litter with coal, and investigation into the possibility of multi-utilization of poultry litter to produce activated carbon: Animal wastes such as dairy farm manure, feedlots, and poultry manure contain a significant BTU content on a per unit mass basis. The total amount of energy contained in these wastes in the U.S. and other countries is significant compared with the nation's overall energy consumption. Animal waste also causes serious environmental concerns ranging from water and air pollution to methane emissions increasing global warming effects. Thus, the best way to solve animal waste disposal issues is to turn this waste into a useful, renewable resource for energy and a chemical by-product—activated carbon. The strategy not only solves an environmental concern of water and air pollution, but also serves the increasing demand for energy and activated carbon. This project (funded by USDA) will be in conjunction with a DOE project "Establishment of an Environment Control Technology Laboratory with a Circulating Fluidized-Bed Combustion System." (DE-FC26-03NT41840).
Objective 1: To determine the mechanism of the degradation of chicken waste. Chicken waste will be studied on the TGA-MS system for various periods of time and under various conditions. The evolved gaseous species and weight change of the chicken waste will be simultaneously measured as a function of time. Elemental analysis will be performed on the residual solid phase of chicken waste after the experiment. The materials balance of the degradation of chicken waste will be determined.
Objective 2: To study the combustion behavior of co-firing chicken waste with coals. Fuel analysis indicates that animal waste biomass has a higher ash and moisture content, and especially higher nitrogen and sulfur contents, with a lower BTU value than coal. On the other hand, the biomass has a higher volatile content. The combustion profiles of coal and chicken waste are quite different, but blends of these fuels, when co-fired under correct conditions, can perform satisfactorily as boiler fuels. The chicken waste will be co-fired in the WKU FBC's boiler. The scope of this study includes (1) combustion behavior (2) pollutants analysis (3) computer simulation and (4) economic analysis.
Objective 3: To investigate the possibility of multi-utilization of chicken waste for activated carbon applications. Mercury pollution has been known to cause neurological and developmental damage in humans. The preliminary research on mercury emission control conducted at the WKU Combustion Laboratory has demonstrated a new sufficient mercury sorbent preparation method by which chicken waste is mixed with resin and activated at high temperature to prepare a so-called wood-ceramic sorbent. Meanwhile, fuel analysis indicates that animal waste biomass has a higher volatile content. So methods to partially gasify chicken waste to generate syngas and wood-ceramic sorbent simultaneously will be a major focus point of this task. The syngas will be used as an energy source, and the wood-ceramic sorbent as a by-product will be used by utilities to capture mercury. The scope of this study includes (1) gasification behavior ( a 50 kg per day demonstration unit will be set up at WKU) (2) pollutants analysis (3) wood-ceramic sorbent optimization, and (4) economic analysis (5) Scale up the production of an activated carbon unit ( one ton per day ) at a chicken farm.