Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 March 2018

Chicken manure firm BHSL teams up with State of Maryland in €3m pilot energy project

Irish agri-tech firm BHSL is set to team up with the US State of Maryland in a €3m pilot project which will result in chicken manure being transferred into energy.

The pioneering project is aimed at reducing the global environmental impact of chicken poultry industry.

The patented technology was shipped from BHSL’s Limerick base last week and it is thought the scheme will be fully operational in the US by October. The State of Maryland paid $1m towards funding the project, with BHSL providing the other €2m.

BHSL’s system is the only one that meets both US and EU environmental regulations.

The area in Maryland in which the technology will be used is intensively used for poultry farming, with the production of an estimated 1.2m tonnes of manure causing pollution in nearby Chesapeake Bay and damaging fish stocks.

Speaking on the initiative with the State of Maryland, Declan O’ Connor, BHSL chief executive said:“The potential size of the US market opportunity for BHSL is conservatively estimated at over $500m. In the Chesapeake Bay region alone over 1bn chickens are reared each year and state governments are increasingly aware of the environmental challenges the poultry manure by-product poses for the Bay and the water sources that flow into it. Our unique solution can both reduce costs and increase revenue for the farmers while solving the environmental challenge they face.”

The news represents a remarkable turnaround for a company  whose very survival was at risk just a few years ago.

BHSL Chief Technical Officer Jack O’ Connor said:“Ten years ago our family poultry farm in Limerick was on the verge of closure as it couldn’t operate within strict new EU regulations on ground water pollution. That gave me the idea to develop this miniature fluidised bed technology which has now been tried and tested, with over 110,000 hours of successful operation on farms in Ireland and the UK.”

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BHSL say their technology can result in a potential 95pc reduction in energy costs through using heat from the manure as a source to heat a new batch of chicks. The company also says its product improves animal welfare and results in chickens reaching their target weight three days faster than they would using traditional methods.

Online Editors