Poultry Power Poops Out in North Carolina

(Source: Mary Anderson, Courier-Tribune)

A 36 megawatt biomass incinerator that would have burned poultry feces is no longer being considered for Biscoe, North Carolina, to the relief of Montgomery and Moore County residents and grassroots community groups, such as Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL), which opposed the project.

The developer, Poultry Power, a subsidiary of the Florida-based Green Frontier, cited the costs of hauling manure to the facility as the major impediment to construction and claimed to be looking at sites closer to their sources.


“Residents have been spared decreased air quality, increased odor, increases in spills and heavy truck traffic,” said Therese Vick of BREDL. As with the burning of any form of “biomass,” conventional air pollutants released from poultry manure incinerators include particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide, generally at higher levels than coal burning power plants. 

Other air pollution concerns from poultry manure incineration include dioxin and arsenic. “Studies have shown arsenic concentrations in poultry litter to be between 15 and 35 ppm (parts per million),” according to "Air Pollution and Toxic Hazards Associated with Poultry Litter Incineration," a report by Mike Ewall of Energy Justice Network. “Arsenic is classified as a known human carcinogen and, when inhaled, can cause cancer in humans, particularly lung cancer.” 

Similar to burning trees, poultry manure incineration burns up organic material that has many other uses, in this case as a soil amendment for food production. According to the Alabama Cooperative Extension, chicken manure “is the most valuable of all manures produced by livestock.”