Turkey poop could fuel your next Thanksgiving

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In Israel, Ben-Gurion University researchers are focusing on ways to transform turkey poop into useful products like fuel. While experimenting with different manure types, scientists found one particular way to “cook” the poultry feces was most efficient and produced a hydrochar. They chose poultry feces because it is an abundant material and high in carbon and nitrogen which is key for energy production.

After experimenting with different temperatures and techniques and comparing the results, they found that roasting the feces to 842 degrees Fahrenheit without oxygen produced a biochar with similar combustion properties as coal, but the more efficient way to ‘cook the poop’ was by keeping the feces wet, lowering the temperature to 482 degrees Fahrenheit, and increasing the pressure to produce hydrochar. Hydrochar is a mix of biomass particles and water which can be separated to make a coal-like powder and a liquid organic fertilizer – doing double duty for doodo.

When converted to combustible biomass fuel, it could replace approximately 10 percent of the coal used in electricity generation, reduce greenhouse gases and provide an alternative and renewable energy source, Vivian Mau, one of the project’s researchers told NPR.