Maryland Prison To Get Energy From Chicken Waste | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

Maryland Prison To Get Energy From Chicken Waste

Play associated audio

Eastern Correctional Institution in Maryland is hoping to set an example by getting some of its electricity from chicken manure. 

A lot of chicken recipes call for some butter and herbs. But not this one. "Poultry litter and things like rye, barley, those are mixed together in the reactor, you add water, a little bit, you heat it up," says Doug Ferguson, with the Maryland Environmental Service. Add bacteria and simmer, and you get methane gas, which can be used to make electricity.

Once the waste-to-energy plant is complete, chicken waste will supply about a third of the energy used by the Eastern prison, according to Ferguson.

Half a billion chickens per year come out of the Delmarva peninsula, which means billions of pounds of chicken waste. That manure is a hot topic in Maryland.

"Managing that waste is always an important issue," says Ferguson. Some is used as fertilizer, but in many cases it can't be used because of its high level of phosphorous. Some is shipped out of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, because environmentalists argue the chicken waste contributes to runoff that harms the bay ecosystem

Waste-to-energy plants like this offer a solution, says Ferguson. The plant buys the manure from farmers, and he says the resulting byproduct is a better fertilizer. "We're getting multiple uses out of it to generate renewable energy, we're getting a fertilizer, we're stimulating the local economy," he says. 

The plant is expected to be up and running by 2013.


For The Autumnal Equinox, A Poem As Chilling As The Fall Weather

Tuesday is the first day of fall. This time of year reminds critic Abigail Deutsch of Stephen Dobyns' "How to Like It" — a poem about a man who ponders his lost summers and fleeting dreams.

Keeping Heirloom Apples Alive Is 'Like A Chain Letter' Over Many Centuries

Scott Farm in Vermont grows 100 apple varieties, some of them dating back to the 1700s. These apples may not look as pretty as the Red Delicious, but what they lack in looks they make up for in taste.
WAMU 88.5

New Anthony Brown Video Accuses Opponent Of 'Hiding' And 'Lying"

Democrat Anthony Brown unveiled a new web video today alleging that Republican Larry Hogan is "hiding" his positions on contentious issues like abortion and gun control.

Retailers' Customers Cautioned As Cyber Attacks Continue

Home Depot says some 56 million card holders were possibly compromised in a cyber attack. It says there's no evidence that debit PIN numbers were comprised or that the breach affected online shoppers.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.