Potential of combustion of poultry litter for space heating in poultry production.

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Molefe, Mogomotsi.J
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The University of Zambia
Confined poultry production, which is expected to double by 2050, produces a lot of manure. For successful and sustainable poultry production, manure management is prompted and should be prioritized. Poultry litter can serve as an energy feedstock for space heating and electricity generation. Currently, the heating systems in use depend on electricity, charcoal or diesel which are very expensive leading to high energy costs in poultry production. The purpose of this study was therefore to investigate the potential of combustion of poultry litter briquettes for space heating in poultry production. The briquettes were made with a mincer which had a nozzle of dimensions, Length=11 cm and Diameter= 25 mm producing briquettes of a diameter of 25 mm and a length of 10 cm. The briquettes were made from poultry litter of chickens at the ages of 4, 5 and 6 weeks, and were either sun or solar dried. Subsequent to dying, the moisture content variation with time was fitted into thin layer drying equations to determine the drying behavior of Poultry Litter Briquettes. A kilogram of the briquettes was then directly combusted in a brazier with 32 holes, of a diameter of 1cm, on its sides comprising of dimensions; Diameter=8 cm and Height=65 cm and heat distribution was measured at distances of 30 cm, 60 cm and 90 cm from the brazier. Charcoal was used as control. The calorific value of the briquettes at different week ages was determined. Maximum average temperatures recorded on the surface of the brazier for week 4, 5, 6 were 471oC, 491oC, 493oC respectively; whereas for charcoal it was 555oC. Complete combustion for poultry litter briquettes took an average of 120 minutes while charcoal took an average of 180 minutes. For poultry litter briquettes at week 4 under open sun drying, the calorific value was found to be 15.65 MJ/kg whereas for those at week 6 under solar tunnel drying was 14.57 MJ/kg which were almost similar. Recommendations were that briquettes which had been compacted more and of larger sizes be experimented on to check the efficiency of the briquettes. Alternatively, more briquettes could be added as the combustion takes place so that the level of heating can be maintained. KEYWORDS: Poultry Litter, Poultry Litter Briquettes, Thin Layer Drying, Direct Combustion, Calorific Value
Poultry litter. , Poultry production.