Chicken Manure

Frye Poultry Farm

Wardensville, West Virginia

West Virginia Department of Environmental Quality features Coaltec’s Frye Poultry chicken litter gasification project in their InDEPth newsletter. For the full article, click here.

West Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Air Quality, features Coaltec’s Frye Poultry gasification project in their Clean Air Forum. Scroll to page 7 of the PDF version for the full article here.

Gasification – Gasification Utilization Best Practices

Located at Frye Poultry Farm, Hardy County West Virginia, this demonstration project has shown that chicken litter can successfully be gasified to provide a bio-based heating system. The project compared, side-by-side, a typically-heated poultry house and a poultry house heated with hot air out of a WESI-36 gasifier’s heat exchanger. The focus of the project was to prove the feasibility and economic viability of a bio-based fuel-to-energy system utilizing poultry litter as the fuel and a fixed-bed gasifier as the medium to convert the material to energy. The project is the culmination of advanced-stage research and development work for a poultry system, and included commissioning, evaluation, and field testing of a gasification system specifically designed for the poultry industry.

On March 19, 2007 the gasifier was delivered to the Frye Poultry site. By the end of that same day the modular system was in place and ready for coupling to the ducting system. On day two the propane and electrical work were in progress. On day three the system was operating to cure the refractory. The was done by a six man crew with the assistance of a crane and crane operator. A sock air distribution system was installed with outstanding results; the ambient air temperature throughout the house having no more than a two degree differential.

The controls in the house are completely secured and the system is operational with birds in the house. Additionally it was operated between flocks to dry the manure pack on the floor and to preheat the house to improve the environment for new poults coming in. The fuel feed is completely automated and the system changes as fuel quality and energy needs change. The system has been operated utilizing both local controls as well as with monitoring from Indiana and Canada through the remote web-based access system.

The operation of the gasifier has a definite positive impact on the bird growth and health. The humidity level in the house is lower – over 20% less, and the bird’s growth was as much as 7% higher. The propane use is obviously lower as the gasifier is providing the energy for replacement heat.

Due to some manure management issues, a consistent fuel supply of a quality acceptable for gasification (minimum 3500 Btu) was not available throughout the heating season. The owner is installing a litter shed which will eliminate this issue for the 2008-09 heating season. On most on the operating runs the system operated with the fuel below the quality that was required to sustain a reaction. The use of the propane heater to “top off” the energy allowed this to happen. The use of the burner was automated so it only operated when the energy level required it. The use of the poorer fuel quality does create operational issues and changes are being made to improve the fuel quality. The stack test protocol for the air permit was prepared and approved, and the stack modifications have been made; however, the stack test has been postponed until the litter shed is installed and a consistent acceptable fuel is available.

As the system is used, a variety of unexpected benefits have been discovered: The ash as a fertilizer supplement has substantial value. It may also be beneficial as a feed supplement to replace dicalcium phosphate. Research work to determine this will be a part of Phase 2 of the project.

The use of the gasifier reduces the work load to maintain the house and could have a significant impact on the operating costs when incorporated in the design of a new facility. The reduced work load and the ability to bake the house between flocks can decrease the time between flocks – thus increasing the opportunity for the farmer to generate revenues.

Initially, the benefits were thought to be confined to cold weather and winter months. However, the ability to utilize the gasifier to produce cool air through a chiller has huge potential. The actual bird performance is worse in the spring and fall as the critical factor is temperature changes from day to night more so than just cold temperatures. Phase 2 of the project will address this opportunity.

Funding is provided for portions of this project from the Natural Resources Conservation Services through a Conservation Innovation Grant and from the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.


Gasification Utilization Best Practices – initiating September 2008 with a portion of the funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Services through a Conservation Innovation Grant.

Project Purpose: To determine a best practice method for utilizing gasification of poultry litter in a broiler operation; including producing chilled air. In an effort to maximize the existing gasification system for improved bird health and environmental benefit and to utilize the energy from the farm’s poultry litter, an adsorption chiller will be coupled to the existing gasification system. It will work through the air control system to utilize heat from gasification of poultry litter to produce chilled air. Bert Bock, Ph.D. will evaluate the ash for economic and environmental benefits.

Benefits of the project will include reduced nutrient loading as more litter is gasified to provide constant temperature and reduced relative humidity throughout much of the year; evaluation of the ash for best economic and environmental benefit; air emissions data regarding ammonia emissions; and a best practice model that should encourage transferability of the technology. Because this project is based on an existing CIG-funded project, it offers the ability to take that project to the next logical step to maximize the previously funded technology as it proceeds toward commercialization. In effect all that was learned from the past project and areas that yet need to be explored are encompassed in phase 2. The benefits and knowledge from both phases will be transferred as a best practice method to the poultry industry for adoption consideration. The acceptance of this technology and method will greatly benefit the environment, especially in areas of greatest conservation concerns, such as the Chesapeake Bay Watershed where the project is located.