Poultry processing has a problem: chicken waste.

Efficient conversion of poultry litter would go a long way to saving energy, therefore, the Energy & Environmental Research Center in Grand Forks, N.D., will test a new technology. Partnering with an electric power company and the U.S. Department of Energy, the EERC will see how well its proprietary technology, which uses an advanced fixed-bed gasifier, converts poultry waste to energy and other value-added products.

Poultry litter is a complex combustible mixture. However, the gasifier is capable of converting it into a clean and combustible mixture of gases, commonly known as synthetic gas, or syngas, which can be used as a direct fuel for electricity and heat production.

“This project can lead to environmental and economic sustainability by helping a major food processing industry eliminate waste and become more energy self-reliant,” says research scientist Nikhil Patel who is the project’s manager and inventor of the technology

The EERC will run several weeks of pilot-scale tests to determine the efficiency and performance of the system using poultry litter and other waste materials as fuel. The project will determine which challenges need to be overcome to bring the technology to the commercial marketplace.