11 billion pounds of chicken feather meal are accumulated annually by the poultry industry in the U.S., and if a process developed by scientists in Nevada moves forward, those chicken parts could be used to produce 153 million gallons of biodiesel a year, and 593 million gallons worldwide.
Chicken feather meal consists of processed chicken feathers, blood, and innards that have been steam processed at high temperatures, and because of its high protein and nitrogen content is currently used as animal feed and fertilizer. The meal also has a 12% fat content, which could be used as a nonfood feedstock to make biodiesel.
The process is touted as being environmentally friendly and would extract the fat from chicken feather meal using boiling water. Researchers say that removal of the fat content from feather meal makes for both a higher-grade animal feed and a better nitrogen source for fertilizer.
The study from the University of Nevada, by Mano Misra, Susanta Mohapatra, Narasimharao Kondamudi, and Jason Strull, is published online in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: A Green Process for Producing Biodiesel from Feather Meal
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