Sunday, December 10, 2023

N.C. plant converts poultry litter to biomass energy

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BOSTON — Veolia Energy Operating Services LLC has been awarded a $9 million annual contract to manage a cogeneration plant that converts poultry litter (waste) and wood chips into biomass energy — diverting up to 285,000 tons of poultry waste a year, while providing a renewable recycling solution for the poultry industry.

The contract is in association with North Carolina Renewable Power-Lumberton LLC, a subsidiary of Georgia Renewable Power (GRP).

Located in the heart of the “American Broiler Belt,” North Carolina is home to a large-scale poultry production industry. Historically, poultry growers have applied chicken manure to their fields as fertilizer. However, with the increased number and size of chicken houses, and less land available for land application, poultry growers have found themselves with more litter than they require for fertilizer. Additionally, there is concern about use of poultry litter as fertilizer and its effects on local streams, lakes and ground water.

The North Carolina Utilities Commission recognizes poultry waste as a renewable energy source, creating a sustainable and economic opportunity for poultry waste-to-energy. GRP is converting a once dormant coal-fired power plant to a biomass facility that utilizes poultry waste and wood from the regional timber industry as fuel.

The 25 megawatt (MW) Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant will also leverage waste heat from its electricity generation process to dry and phytosanitize wood chips for export overseas, creating a new market for the local timber industry while supporting the use of renewable energy globally. Finally, the ash from the plant, which contains the original nutrients from the poultry litter, is sold for use as a feedstock for fertilizer and soil amendment.

Under a long-term agreement, GRP has engaged Veolia to provide comprehensive operations and maintenance services of the plant’s CHP operations and production of biomass fuel and organic fertilizer. With 35 employees at the plant, supported by regional and corporate staff, Veolia is also helping evaluate potential upgrades to the plant that will significantly increase the amount of poultry litter that can be processed, while improving efficiency and reliability.

“Succeeding with a project like NCRP-Lumberton requires having a vision, and the right partners,” said Dave Shafer, CEO of Georgia Renewable Power. “Veolia’s depth of national and global expertise in developing and operating complex energy plants, robust bench strength and balance sheet, and like-minded focus on sustainability, makes them a perfect operations partner for this biomass facility, and future GRP projects.”

“We’re pleased to collaborate and support an innovative renewable energy company like GRP,” said John Gibson, president and COO of Veolia North America’s Municipal & Commercial business. “The Lumberton plant is another example of how a circular economy approach can yield significant economic, environmental and social benefits. By converting former waste streams into biomass energy and recycled goods, Georgia Renewable Power is helping the state meet its meet its renewable energy targets, while also protecting local waterways.”

With over 163,000 employees worldwide, the Veolia group designs and provides water, waste and energy management solutions. In 2016, the Veolia group supplied 100 million people with drinking water and 61 million people with wastewater service, produced 54 million megawatt hours of energy and converted 30 million metric tons of waste into new materials and energy.

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