Double Trouble Farm, Rhodesdale, Md., is said to be the first Maryland poultry operation to install cutting-edge technology that converts poultry litter to energy.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture awarded a $970,000 animal waste technology grant to Biomass Heating Solutions, Inc. (BHSL), UK, for the manure-to-energy project and an additional $139,000 to monitor its operation for one year.

Maryland’s Animal Waste Technology Fund is a grant program that provides seed funding to companies that demonstrate innovative technologies to manage or re-purpose manure resources. These technologies generate energy from animal manure, reduce on-farm waste streams and re-purpose manure by creating marketable fertilizer and other products and byproducts.

BHSL will use electricity-generating technology (fluidized bed combustion) to process poultry litter into energy for heating two of the four poultry houses during the demonstration period. The system is projected to generate 526 megawatts of electricity per year. Adding heat to poultry houses has been proven at other sites to improve the flock growth rate and overall bird health. These benefits will enhance potential profit margins, reduce payback period for the technology and improve the likelihood of transferability to other poultry operations. Double Trouble Farm is also working with BHSL to explore markets for the high-phosphorus ash byproduct, including Maryland fertilizer companies. As a result of energy production and marketing the ash, 90% of nutrients in the poultry litter produced by 14 poultry houses will have alternative uses.

“I am excited that a unique piece of technology designed in Ireland is going to transform U.S. poultry production and play a crucial role in reducing the environmental impact of the industry on the Chesapeake Bay,” says Denis Brosnan, chairman of BHSL. “I hope this pilot project is the start of a broader initiative to turn poultry manure from a potential pollutant into a valuable source of energy.”

This project offers the following benefits:

  • Reduced environmental impact. A reduction in the potential environmental impact of manure resources.
  • Lower energy costs. A reduction in energy costs through using heat from the manure as a source for heating poultry houses.
  • Improved animal welfare. Improved animal welfare, with improved health and reduced risk of diseases.
  • Improved performance. Faster growth – poultry reaching target weight more quickly.
  • Additional revenue. Potential expansion of revenue streams – earnings from the sale of excess electricity and a fertilizer byproduct.