Blood + Guts + Feathers = Biodiesel?

Dan Conant

As environmentalists continue to follow the model of ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’ scientists continue to find ways of recycling waste products.  One of the newest developments in the recycling aspect of the slogan involves turning chicken feather meal into biodiesel fuel.  It is estimated that there is 11 billion pounds of poultry waste that is produced annually and just accumulates.  This is because chicken feathers are not able to be stuffed into pillows, so the feathers as well as the other waste products (the innards and blood) are turned into a low-grade animal feed.

The potential fuel source pre-dinner

Scientists in Nevada paid attention to the fact that chicken meal has a fat content of 12%.  To remove the fat from the chicken meal the meal is put in boiling water and then the fat is processed into biodiesel fuel.  This process is advantageous for the obvious environmental reason of providing another source of alternative fuel,  but by removing the fat from the chicken meal it actually makes the animal feed remains a higher grade and it also turns the chicken meal into being a better fertilizer. 

Based on the scientists production methods and the annual amount of chicken meal produced on a yearly basis it is estimated that within the U.S. 153 million gallons of biodiesel fuel could be made.  On a global scale there would be potential for creating 593 million gallons of biodiesel.  Although this is an outstanding number, it is relatively small compared to the amount of fuel consumed on a yearly basis which stands around 4 billion gallons.  Nonetheless, it is important for developments to continue in areas of recycling waste products.  If more developments are made, the millions of gallons will slowly add up and present themselves as a viable fuel alternative.

http://www.alternative-energy-news.info/fuel-from-chicken-feathers/

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conantd

Dan is a junior environmental studies major and is currently an intern for Dickinson's Center for Sustainability Education.

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