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MDA Awards $970,000 for New Manure Management Technology Project; Farm Partners with Irish Co. with Support from Mountaire

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) today awarded a $970,000 grant to Biomass Heating Solutions, Inc. (BHSL), for a manure-to-energy project at a Dorchester County poultry farm.

BHSL will use electricity generating technology (fluidized bed combustion) to process poultry litter into energy for heating and cooling four poultry houses. The system is projected to generate 526 MWh of electricity per year. Adding heat to poultry houses has been proven at other sites to improve the flock growth rate and overall bird health. These benefits will enhance potential profit margins, reduce payback period for the technology and improve the likelihood of transferability to other poultry operations. The farmer, Brad Murphy, is exploring markets for the high-phosphorus ash by-product including Maryland fertilizer companies. As a result of energy production and marketing the ash, 90 percent of nutrients in the poultry litter produced by 14 poultry houses will have alternative uses. 

“By working to reach our sustainability goals, we’ll grow our renewable energy portfolio and reduce the amount of run-off going into our precious Bay. This program is a win-win for our State,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Investing in Maryland’s in-state renewable energy boosts our economy, ensures that we have abundant energy resources well into the future and creates more jobs and opportunity for more Marylanders.”

The O’Malley/Brown Administration’s investment in innovation led to the revitalization of the Animal Waste Technology Fund. The fund provides incentives to companies that demonstrate new technologies on farms and provide alternative strategies for managing animal manure. These technologies generate energy from animal manure, reduce on-farm waste streams, and repurpose manure by creating marketable fertilizer and other products and by-products. MDA awarded $2 million from FY2014 program funds. In FY2015, $3 million will be available for a new round of projects to demonstrate innovative manure management technologies.

“BHSL, an Irish corporation, has a proven track record and data from installation and operation of these systems in Europe. This project has the support of Mountaire, the poultry integrator Mr. Murphy grows chickens for, and it will help farmers address challenges in managing manure under new nutrient management requirements,” said Secretary Hance. “Projects like this can increase energy independence, improve animal waste management and assure sustainability of animal agriculture in Maryland.  It also improves water quality and reduces greenhouse gases – all of which will result in advanced Chesapeake Bay restoration and help farms become sustainable.”

In January 2014, MDA issued a Request for Proposals for demonstration projects with proven and innovative technologies that manage agricultural manure and on-farm generated waste in a manner that improves its utility as a fertilizer, changes its form or function for alternative uses, or produces energy or other marketable products. The overall outcome of the technology will result in reduction of nitrogen and/or phosphorus movement to surface waters associated with animal manure produced on farms in Maryland.

“BHSL is honoured and excited to have been chosen to demonstrate its technology solution for converting manure to energy on a Maryland farm. Our innovative Fluidized Bed Technology is already transforming the poultry industry in the UK and we look forward to emulating our sustainable food production model whilst protecting the environment,” said BHSL Chief Executive Officer Declan O’Connor. “Our solution for on-farm conversion of manure to heating, cooling and electricity is a proven alternative to land spreading or large scale power plants.”

Maryland’s nutrient management regulations govern the amount, timing, and placement of crop nutrients—including manure and other organic nutrient sources—on agricultural land to prevent excess nutrients from impacting waterways. To help poultry and livestock producers comply with the regulations, Maryland is supporting and investing in alternative uses for manure such as fertilizer manufacturing, composting and manure-to-energy projects, and the development of new products that add value to improve farm viability.

MDA received eight bids, which were reviewed by a six-member technical review subcommittee. The subcommittee represented diverse skill sets and backgrounds and its members were chosen from the 20-member Advisory Committee for the Animal Waste Technology Fund. Three of the recommended projects were approved by the Board of Public Works on Wednesday, August 13.

  • Planet Found Energy Development (PFED) $676,144.47 – uses an anaerobic digester linked to a nutrient recovery system to produce electricity for parasitic load and will use net metering to send any excess electricity back to the grid. Millennium Farms, owned/operated by Jason and Kim Lambertson, is in Worcester County and has six poultry houses. Although pairing the two components is new, both have been proven as stand- alone systems. PFED broke ground on the anaerobic digester component of the project this spring and will use grant funds from the State to support the nutrient capture system.
  • Green Mountain Technologies, Inc (GMT) $388,310 – GMT has two in-vessel composting projects that use web-enabled controllers and probes to monitor temperatures and manage the composters remotely when not on site:  1) small composter at the Days End Horse Rescue in Howard County where nutrients and by-products will be reduced by 50 percent and potentially market the compost as planting medium for nursery production. 2) larger composter on a Frederick County dairy farm, owned and managed by Eugene Iager, that also will process the offal from its turkey production and processing facility.

Learn more about Maryland’s sustainable policies, practices and programs at and follow us @GreenMaryland.

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