Chinese Eco-Farm Turns Chicken Poop into Usable Power

Eco-farm in Beijing converts chicken manure into clean energy.

ByABC News
December 9, 2009, 8:26 AM

BEIJING, Dec. 9, 2009 — -- For China, the path to a low-carbon economy starts from a chicken farm on the outskirts of Beijing.

The first thing that strikes a visitor to this poultry farm is the smell. The strong odor of chicken manure permeates the air and brings tears to one's eyes.

Billed by state media as an ecological farm, it was first set up nine years ago by a private Chinese agribusiness firm to raise chickens and supply Chinese consumers with organic eggs.

With the use of imported technology, this pioneering eco-farm now turns chicken poop into biogas and electricity and plays a role in China's effort to reduce its carbon emissions. In its own way, this farm is part of China's search for a model of sustainable agriculture with clean energy.

This place is certainly not one's idea of an ordinary rural farm. With 3 million chickens housed in modern facilities, this poultry occupies an area of 124 acres and provides over 70 percent of the capital's supply of organic eggs.

It also turns out 200 tons of chicken manure every day, which is converted into 20,000 cubic meters of biogas and 40,000 kilowatt hours of electricity -- enough to meet the daily energy needs of 5,000 households.

The 300 families in nearby Shuiyu village use the biogas supplied free of charge by the farm for their cooking and heating. "I save energy and money, I use the bio fuel for cooking," Chen Youhua, a village resident told ABC News. She said she also uses leftover waste from the farm to fertilize the fruits and vegetables she grows.

By using biogas to generate electricity for its own needs, the eco-farm is able to reduce its use of coal and cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 95,000 tons a year.

With its combination of organic farming and clean energy, this chicken farm has now become a success story in China, attracting up to 30 groups a month from different parts of the country that want to study its eco-business model.

Built with funding from Chinese investors as well as from international bodies such as the Global Environment Fund and the World Bank's International Finance Corporation, this eco-farm is the only one of its kind in the country. But there is now a plan to set up another one in Anhui province in south China.