In the past 50 years, the poultry industry has made tremendous advancements in production performance, resource utilization and environmental sustainability. However, mortality disposal remains a major challenge as traditional methods of carcass disposal such as burial, incineration, composting, and rendering pose significant risk (biosecurity, environmental pollution, odor, cost, etc.) to the future of the poultry industry.
In North America, approximately 1,500,000,000 pounds of broiler and 187,500,000 pounds of layer hen mortalities must be disposed of in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner without jeopardizing the biosecurity of the production facility nor the financial success of the producer.
What Did We Do
In response to growing concerns and regulatory requirements, an advanced thermal dehydration system has been developed for the disposition of poultry mortalities. This process utilizes simultaneous mixing and heating of the carcass materials in an enclosed drum to 194 F, which results in a 60% reduction in volume over a 12-hour cycle time.
Thermal Dehydration Process
This program was designed to understand the effectiveness, impacts, and opportunities of utilizing Agritech Thermal Disposal Systems thermal dehydration technology for the disposition of poultry mortalities in commercial poultry production facilities in the western United States.
What Have We Learned
Thermal dehydration technology has proven an effective, efficient, and easy method to manage poultry mortalities in commercial poultry production systems. Agritech Thermal Disposal Systems currently offers two models, a smaller single phase unit with a maximum capacity of 1300 pounds and a larger 3 phase unit with a maximum capacity of 2000 pounds per cycle.
The units are simple to operate, as all that is required is to load the mortalities and initiate the thermal dehydration process. There is no requirement for additional materials (carbon), mixing the materials nor manual cleanout, etc.. On average the unit requires 1 kilowatt of electricity per 9 pounds of mortalities processed. An economic analysis comparing thermal dehydration technology with currently used poultry mortality methods is presented below.
|Mortality Disposal Comparison|
|20 Year Analysis|
|Based on processing 1000 lbs mortality per day|
|Rendering||Traditional Incinerator||High Efficiency Dual Burner Incinerator||Rotary Composter||TDS 1300|
|Fuel Source||LPG||LPG||Wood shavings||Electrical|
|Amount||2.5 gph||2.5 gph||3:1 ratio||1kW/9 lbs|
|Fuel per cycle||30 gallons||11.24 gallons||3000lbs||111kW|
|Cost per cycle||$75||$75||$28||$42.5||$12.5|
|Cost per week||$526||$525||$197||$298||$88|
|Cost per year||$27,300||$27,300||$10,238||$15,470||$4,565|
|Cost per 20 year||$546,000||$546,000||$204,750||$309,400||$91,291|
|Annual service cost||$1,200||$835||$200||$200|
|Replacement time (yr)||5||6.67||20||20||20|
|20 year equipment cost||$5,000||$36,000||$2,972||$65,000||$55,000|
|500G propane tank||$2,000||$2,000|
|Handling||Carcass handling cost equal|
|Fuel Cost||2.50$/gallon; 11.30 cents per KWh|
|Rendering Cost||$0.75 per pound rendering pickup|
|Woodshavings:||Average 37 lbs/cubic foot|
|Utilize 3 cubic yards per day|
|1500$/100 yard load delivered ($15/yd)|
|Recycle 50% from produced compost|
|Plus 30 minutes additional handling per day-20$|
Based on industry performance statistics, a 100,000 head broiler facility would produce approximately 3 supersacks/totes of “meat powder” per flock. The resultant “meat powder” is a stable, odor free, sterile byproduct which can be field applied, integrated into commercial fertilizer or utilized in further processing. Compositional analysis has consistently demonstrated a moisture content of approximately 20%, a nitrogen level of 10%, phosphorus of 0.5% and potassium of 0.6%.
The range in particle size of the resultant “meat powder” was determined through sieve testing in accordance with ANSI/ASAES319, with an average particle size of 560 microns with a standard deviation of 5.06.
Environmental impact analysis of the thermal dehydration process of poultry mortalities has demonstrated that there are no visible emissions from the thermal dehydration unit, other than water vapor.
Further emissions testing has shown total particulate emission rate averaged 0.0066 lb./operating hour, semi-volatile Organic Compounds (SVOCs) were all below the minimum detectable limit and the total combined speciated Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emission rate averaged 0.0067 lb./operating hour, with all individual compounds below regulatory thresholds.
The long-term evaluation program of thermal dehydration technology for the disposition of poultry mortalities continues, with special emphasis on understanding the opportunities to utilize the “meat powder”. These efforts include conducting amino acid profiling, understanding the impacts on quality from long-term storage and determining the optimal handling system.
Thermal dehydration technology has gained international approval for the disposition of animal mortalities, has recently been permitted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and is currently undergoing regulatory review in numerous jurisdictions throughout the United States.
Jeff Hill, President, Livestock Welfare Strategies
Danny Katz, Agritech Thermal Disposal Systems, Anissa Purswell, Eviro-Ag Engineering, Inc.
H and R Agricultural Solutions LLC 1592 Southview Circle Center, Texas 75935
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