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Finding practical uses for livestock carcasses

Finding practical uses for livestock carcasses

New technology turns animal by-products and food waste into fertilizer and energy

By Kate Ayers
Staff Writer

An innovative technology has become a commercially viable method for converting livestock by-products into fertilizers and green energy.

The Lethbridge Biogas biorefining plant in Alberta recently completed the first successful commercial scale processing, a Biosphere Technologies Inc. release said on Tuesday.

“One of the big problems in the livestock industry is what has historically been done with waste, including inedibles, deadstock and organic waste,” Erick Schmidt, president of Biosphere Technologies Inc. and inventor of this technology, said to yesterday.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has approved the new process for use on Specified Risk Materials (SRMs). The technology also destroys all infectious microbiological pathogens and prion diseases such as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle and Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in elk and deer, the release said.

The process is “now in the World Organisation for Animal Health’s Terrestrial Animal Health Code as approved for the destruction of any infectious agents, but we don’t destroy the nutrients,” Schmidt added. As a result, these nutrients can be returned to the soil as liquid or pelleted fertilizer.  

This unique process uses high pressure and temperature steam reactors. Compared to rendering, incineration and landfilling, the new process provides an environmentally friendlier option for dealing with disease risk materials like carcasses.

“We don’t use any toxic chemicals. … Thermal hydrolysis uses water as our chemical,” Schmidt said.

“The water molecules react with all the fats and proteins in the meat and all the minerals. … And it breaks those down into smaller elements.”

The process denatures all the materials in three hours, turning waste products into a molasses-like consistency.

In addition, this breakthrough hydrolysis technology can turn animal by-products and food waste into biogas as a source of energy.

The technology is called the BIOTHYDRO process, invented by Schmidt. Biosphere Technologies Inc. and scientists and engineers in Alberta and Edinburgh also worked on the project over 20 years, the release said.

This process provides an alternative to synthetic fertilizers, which will be valuable for the organic agriculture, gardening and medical marijuana sectors.

The Lethbridge Biogas facility is in operation. The technology is also licenced for use in the BioRefinex Lacombe biorefinery project and Novigro Sciences Inc. in Edmonton, the release said.

Agricultural groups in Europe, the United States and China are also looking into implementing this technology.

The commercialization of the Biosphere technology offers health and environmental benefits – reducing global disease risks, water pollution and soil degradation, the release said.

Livestock producers may also see economic benefits as the disposal of SRMs is often expensive.

CNW Group/Biosphere Technologies Inc. photo


CNW Group/Biosphere Technologies Inc. photo