Poultry, Poop, and Greenhouse Gases

Chicken poop can save the world.

I know, it sounds ridiculous, but chicken manure may hold the key in helping greenhouse gas emitters better scrub their emissions before they hit the atmosphere, making our manufacturing industries more environmentally-friendly and providing a new income stream for poultry farmers across the country.

Scientists in Maryland, alongside HY-TEK Bio, are developing technology that uses a specific type of micro-algae to gobble up greenhouse gases. The algae being considered thrives on chicken poop. Chicken poop is high in nutrients, especially nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, and for this brand of algae, it’s a smorgasbord of delicious.

The micro-algae are photosynthetic creatures that require water, light, carbon dioxide, and other nutrients to flourish. It can also consume nitrogen oxide, sulfur oxide, and a variety of volatile organic compounds, which are waste products of heavy oil production plants and coal-fired power plants.

Chicken poop was considered, when the Chesapeake Bay Foundation noticed a surge in algal blooms in Chesapeake Bay. The area is littered with poultry barns, and it’s believed that algae is feeding off waste products from nearby operations.

The idea is to grow micro-algae in bioreactors by feeding it chicken poop and selling the plant mass to the oil and gas industry and other manufacturing industries. In addition to its scrubbing potential, micro-algae produces a lipid compound that’s insanely high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can be used in nutraceuticals, cosmetics, paint, and animal feed supplements. In the past, there has also been research into using algae to produce biofuel, bioplastics, and using it to absorb waste products in water.

The potential is huge, and with vast amounts of chicken manure produced all over the globe, there is possibility of forging strong relationships between farmers and industry. But, the research is in its infancy, with scientists seeing promising results that chicken manure is a viable nutrient source. My fingers are crossed that this proves to be incredibly successful, because the potential benefits are tremendous.

Now, do you believe me? Chicken poop might just save the world.

 

Sources:

Micro-Algae. Ag Annex

Call it a win-win: Curbing pollution with chicken manure. Alberta Farm Express