turkey. Photo: iStockphoto

In Minnesota, a state that produces more turkeys than any other (some 44.5 million birds per year), a new power plant that burns turkey litter just began operations. According to the article in today’s NYT, operators of the plant, which is the first in the country to run on animal waste, is environmentally friendly. But critics say the manure is more valuable “just as it is, useful as a rich, organic fertilizer at a time when demand is growing for all things organic.”

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They also say the electricity is expensive — that it requires a lot of energy for a relatively small output. It would take 10 turkey-powered plants, they say, to churn out the juice of one medium-sized coal fired operation.

Though it does mention particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrogen sulfide as some nasty fallout of biomass burning, the Times article offers no hard numbers on the energy balance that poultry-power yields. Since know too well by now that all biomass is not created equal, that would have been some helpful info.

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Perhaps you Gristmillers know some stats?