Chicken remains one of the most popular, inexpensive birds on the planet.
They are cheap to maintain, produce eggs and their meat is relatively inexpensive. The only downside is the amount of waste they produce relative to their size.
There may be a solution, however. The Energy & Fuels Journal recently published a method whereby chicken poop can be used to produce biofuel.
The good news is that the process also required the use of another pesky environmental menace – an invasive African weed.
Chicken dung has always been used as fertiliser, but due to recent trends in chicken farming, this can no longer be done. All of the nutrients, hormones, antibiotics and heavy metals used in the chicken farming process is secreted in the dung. These elements are not biodegradable, so the float to the surface where they actually do more harm than good.
If the poop is mixed with the Mexican sunflower – introduced to Africa as a decorative plant many years ago – which transforms it into a usable source for biofuel.
Eight kilograms of the chicken poop and sunflower mix is enough to produce 3kg of biogas, which is strong enough to power a generator.
The solids left over from the process can also be used as fertiliser, as all of the harmful elements mentioned earlier is removed via the process.
This biofuel process could work perfectly in South Africa, seeing as we have both chicken poop and Mexican sunflowers in abundance.