28 July 2009
Feather-based biodiesel takes wing
A new and environmentally friendly process for producing biodiesel fuel from “chicken feather meal” is now under development.
The source of the process would come from the 11 billion pounds of poultry industry waste that accumulate annually in the U.S.
A feathering process comes from discarded chicken parts, which ultimately results into a source of biodiesel fuel.
Chicken feather meal consists of processed chicken feathers, blood, and innards that have been processed at high temperatures with steam, according to Mano Misra, Susanta Mohapatra, Narasimharao Kondamudi, and Jason Strull, researchers at the University of Nevada-Reno.
Feather meal now sees use as animal feed and fertilizer because of its high protein and nitrogen content. With as much as 12% fat content, feather meal has potential as an alternative, nonfood feedstock for the production of biofuel, the researchers said.
A new process for extracting fat from chicken feather meal using boiling water and processing it into biodiesel is now under development, the researchers said. Given the amount of feather meal generated by the poultry industry each year, the researchers estimate this process could create 153 million gallons of biodiesel annually in the U.S. and 593 million gallons worldwide.
In addition, they note removal of fat content from feather meal results in a higher-grade animal feed and a better nitrogen source for fertilizer applications.
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