Foundation for the Development of Environmental and Energy Markets

Chicken waste could produce unexpected energy windfalls in Ukraine

Ukrainians soon could enjoy a new windfall of electricity and heat from an unexpected source – chickens. In some unusual news, the Swiss company Alter Energy Group AG is assessing Ukrainian poultry farm sites to implement a sophisticated waste to energy process. The process takes chicken and poultry manure and turns it into clean, environmentally safe, industrial scale electricity and heat.

This is a new type of energy project for the former Soviet Union, and upon completion Alter Energy Group’s Ukrainian projects will join only a handful of poultry waste to energy projects worldwide.

The company’s technical approach takes chicken manure from large Ukrainian farms and burns it to create significant amounts of heat and electricity. The heat and electricity then is supplied to Ukraine’s wholesale energy market and the surrounding population. While this sounds fairly simple and straightforward, the actual process is difficult and complex due to the heavy ammonia content of poultry manure.

The ammonia content of poultry manure is so great that it routinely destroys normal project equipment and releases toxic pollutants into the air unless handled in a rigorous manner. Additionally the ash created by burning poultry manure is extremely problematic. For this reason, only about seven commercial scale poultry waste to energy projects have been implemented anywhere in the world to date.

Alter Energy Group claims to have carefully addressed these chicken related challenges by utilizing a waste to energy methodology with a proven poultry-specific track record. In addition to heat and electricity, their projects will also produce large quantities of nutrient rich bio-fertilizers and animal feed for sale.

Ukraine is a country with large poultry farms that currently have no immediate use for their livestock waste. An opportunity therefore exists, with the right technology, to create a substantial and profitable niche market in the country’s renewable energy sector. Alter Energy Group’s first Ukrainian chicken projects could be completed sometime during early 2010, if all goes well.

Making clean energy from chicken manure is not the sort of thing one hears about very often. Even in the most advanced renewable energy countries the practice is relatively unknown. It will be interesting to observe these projects’ development in Ukraine, and to watch whether similar projects are undertaken in neighboring CIS countries.

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