AD plant will use chicken litter to produce renewable natural gas in Maryland

This week, CleanBay Renewables announced that Kiewit Corporation will design, engineer and build CleanBay’s Westover bio-refinery which, using anaerobic digestion (AD), will recycle more than 150,000 tons of chicken litter annually and convert it into renewable natural gas and a nutrient-rich fertilizer product.

Poultry litter is a mixture of poultry excreta, spilled feed, feathers, and material used as bedding in poultry operations, according to Wikipedia. Poultry litter is used in confinement buildings used for raising broilers, turkeys and other birds. The plant is the first utility-scale anaerobic digestion project that uses agricultural feedstock for the state of Maryland, according to the companies.

By repurposing a potential source of excess nutrients, CleanBay can generate 765,000 MMBTUs of sustainable renewable natural gas, which it will sell to Chesapeake Utilities.

CleanBay recently announced a partnership with Chesapeake Utilities under which Chesapeake Utilities Corporation will transport the renewable natural gas produced at the plant to Eastern Shore Natural Gas, Chesapeake Utilities Corporation’s interstate infrastructure pipeline, where it will be distributed to end use customers, including low-carbon, renewable vehicle fuel customers.

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CleanBay says that it has a unique environmental, social, and governance (ESG) profile because its plant reduce air, soil and water pollution. Without processing, chicken litter releases nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas with 300 times the impact of CO2. Litter can also produce nitrogen and phosphorus runoff, which lead to algae blooms that pollute waterways and create dead zones, said the company.

“The partnership with Kiewit brings CleanBay’s vision of a sustainable economic model to produce energy, process waste and return controlled-release nutrients to crop lands for food production, one step closer to reality,” said Thomas Spangler, CleanBay Renewables’ Executive Chairman.

“We commend CleanBay on its commitment to innovation and the environment along with its dedication in bringing the first utility-scale anaerobic digestion plant focused on agricultural feedstock to Maryland,” said Brad Kaufman, senior vice president, Kiewit Corporation.

“Our process goes beyond recycling waste and reducing pollution,” said Donal Buckley, CleanBay’s Chief Executive Officer. “By also creating a controlled-release fertilizer containing humic acid, we’re improving soil health and helping farmers increase production to meet the ever-increasing demand for food.”

Site preparation is now underway, and construction is scheduled to begin later this year at the Westover facility, which will include more than $200 million of capital investment by CleanBay.

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Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. Today, in addition to managing content on Renewable Energy World and POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference for the transmission and distribution industry. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com

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