Scientists in Nevada have developed a new and environmentally friendly process for producing biodiesel fuel from 'chicken feather meal.'
Professor Mano Misra and his team at the University of Nevada note that chicken feather meal consists of processed chicken feathers, blood, and innards that have been processed at high temperatures with steam.
Presently, feather meal is used as animal feed and fertilizer because of its high protein and nitrogen content.
The researchers said that with as much as 12 percent fat content, feather meal has potential as an alternative, non-food feedstock for the production of biofuel.
They have described a new process for extracting fat from chicken feather meal using boiling water and processing it into biodiesel.
In the Unites States alone, 11 billion pounds of poultry industry waste accumulates annually.
Given the amount of feather meal generated by the poultry industry each year, the researchers estimate that this process could create 153 million gallons of biodiesel annually in the U.S. and 593 million gallons worldwide.
Also, they note that removal of fat content from feather meal results in both a higher-grade animal feed and a better nitrogen source for fertilizer applications.
Their study is scheduled for the July 22 issue of ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.