The United States poultry industry is being assaulted on many fronts; by more stringent government regulations, by environmental and animal rights groups, and by escalating feed and electricity costs, just to mention a few. Manure management has become a prime concern for growers, a hot issue for communities, an annoyance for anyone living downwind from a poultry farm and everyone interested in minimizing nutrient run off that damages water quality and marine life. But it looks as though there is recycling relief in sight for handling the manure problem.
Called poultry litter in commodity form, it is a combination of manure and bedding materials such as wood shavings, sawdust, peanut hulls, shredded sugar cane, straw, or other dry, absorbent, low-cost organic materials. Of course, the commodity price fluctuates with the quality of the litter, seasonality, and is affected by the price of natural gas and oil used to make competitive chemical fertilizers. In Arkansas, poultry litter recently sold between $6 and $10 per ton – down from $15 a year ago. Long recognized as a good organic fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, it has drawbacks. In raw form it can be applied only before a crop is planted, cannot be applied during the growing season and is not ideally chemically balanced to suit many plant nutrient requirements. For these reasons, growers face the challenge of managing excess supply. ...read more
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“There’s a major reexamination of the value of hydropower going on now, particularly over last three or four years. The renewed interest is because of the push for renewable portfolio standards in certain states and how to meet those standards. Hydro is considered green by the states, has a favorable standing with local communities and is very popular. There has been increased attention and a movement to harness what is potentially out there,” said Doug Dixon, technical executive at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). Members of EPRI represent more than 90 percent of the electricity generated and delivered in the United States.
Today, conventional hydroelectric power represents only 7.6 percent of all American electric generation, but the potential waiting to be harnessed is huge. Not in gigantic projects like the Hoover Dam, but in a vast number of smaller, more diverse, nationally distributed sources that cumulatively could add up to big electricity production. Hydro has advantages over solar and wind since it produces full time. The next generation of water power is likely to include:
- Building additional capacity or increasing efficiency at existing hydroelectric plants.
- Installing new power plants on existing dams.
- Building small-scale hydro plants not requiring new dams or reservoirs.
- Installing ocean-wave and tidal generators.
- Placing in-stream hydrokinetic turbines in rivers.
- Harnessing the power of constructed waterways: canals, aqueducts, water supply system, and effluent streams. ...read more