St. Petersburg Times
World & Nation
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Letter to the editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message

In Minnesota, foul from fowl may become fuel

Published May 24, 2007


BENSON, Minn. - The gray, sandy mix of turkey droppings and other bits and pieces flowing through Greg Langmo's fingers back onto the floor of his barn isn't just funky dirt, it's fuel.

With 16, 000 hens gobbling around him, Langmo is standing on a 15-inch layer of turkey litter - some 750 tons - that represents a new source of energy.

It will help fuel a $200-million power plant due to begin full-scale production next month. The 55-megawatt plant will be the first poultry litter-fired power plant in the United States, producing enough renewable power for 50, 000 homes.

Poultry litter - a combination of droppings, wood chips, seed hulls, shed feathers and spilled feed - has long been spread on fields as a fertilizer. It works as a fuel because it's relatively dry, so it's easy to burn compared with cow and hog manure, which are too wet and smell far worse. Three tons of poultry litter can produce about as much energy as a ton of coal. And it burns clean.

Langmo said the plant will consume about 40 percent of Minnesota's turkey litter, turning about 1-billion pounds of it per year into electricity.

But one longtime critic of the poultry litter plants, David Morris, said that the process is not cost effective and that the litter is worth more as a fertilizer than a fuel.

"From a public policy perspective, this stinks, " he said.

[Last modified May 24, 2007, 01:33:40]

Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters