Treatment options are essentially about waste and energy; both are key factors affecting operational profitability. To contextualise;

  • Each kilogram of chicken meat delivered to the customer produces a combined waste stream in excess of 16 kg (including wastewater)
  • Every aspect of the poultry production and supply chain requires energy. We estimate this energy requirement, excluding feed production, to be approximately 16MJ per kg carcase weight


Broiler farms require energy for;

  • Lighting
  • Feeding & drinking equipment (pumps & augers)
  • Climate control including associated production management systems which can include both heating and cooling systems.


Energy costs constitute a significant portion, often over half, of cash expenses (non-feed costs) for poultry producers (Cunningham, 2008).


Successful treatment of broiler farm waste has to address the following challenges;

  • Poultry waste presents itself as a major risk factor and maintaining bio-security is a major concern of poultry farmers. Effective waste management programmes should be designed to reduce the spread of various pathogens and diseases within the farm and to all other farms and processing facilities.
  • Poultry farm waste is comprised of broiler litter (manure & bedding material) and on-farm mortalities, each requiring separate treatment protocols;
    • Chicken manure is a demanding substrate for further processing due to high ammonia, nitrogen and sulphur levels. Combustion of chicken manure can result in NOX and SOX emissions. Anaerobic digestion of chicken manure needs to address the low Carbon: Nitrogen ratio (7:1) which is deficient in carbon molecules for quality biogas production. The presence of heavy metals can be an inhibiting factor in biological treatments.
    • Bedding materials can contain high lignin levels that breakdown very slowly in nature and which can be inhibitory to biological processing.
    • Mortalities are a major source of pathogens requiring quick and effective treatment to prevent spreading of diseases.



The Selectra approach is to implement farm-specific sustainable architecture as each broiler/layer farm has unique operating conditions and diverse needs. Furthermore consideration must be given the fact that farm operations normally consume less energy than what is recovered through H2E anaerobic digestion system. Other system benefits include enzymatic pre-treatment to reduce lignin to sugars thereby facilitating the digestion of bedding material, treated bedding material provides carbon to correct the Carbon: Nitrogen ratio, and alkaline hydrolysis for processing of mortalities.






Selectra’s solution is to deploy the H2E anaerobic digesters developed by EKO GEA. System advantages are;

  • Discharge to the environment that meets General Discharge Standard requirements
    • High process efficiency associated with much larger bacterial population when compared to traditional systems results in 90% destruction of organic loading.
    • System can acclimate to the high-ammonia environment to break down the ammonia into nitrite, then nitrate – the nitrification process. Thereafter through denitrification, the nitrate is converted to nitrogen, an odourless gas that is the main component of air.
    • Pathogens are effectively destroyed by anaerobic digestion.


  • Reduced CAPEX Cost
    • Less than 10 day HRT, depending on individual circumstances.
    • Smaller footprint, at least 70% smaller than a traditional plug-flow systems, resulting in greatly reduced excavation and containment costs.


  • Reduced OPEX Cost
    • Collection and use of biogas can result in a negative operating cost allowing system payback of approximately 5 years.
    • High system efficiency results in high energy yield
    • More organics treated (at least 90% destruction of organics) combined with high methane content biogas (typical methane content between 65-85%) results in a superior energy yield.
    • Plant requires low parasitic load thereby allowing for greater energy export
    • Treated water can be recycled for general plant use thereby saving on water costs
    • Discharge to municipal system does not incur surcharges for not meeting specification.


  • Little or no organic sludge
    • Mineral sludge has high value and is an effective nutrient recovery system


  • Unsurpassed process stability with the addition of Biocomplex bio-activator
    • Enhanced biological reaction that improves biological wastewater processes
    • Prevents the generation of anaerobic odours
      • Stops the production of hydrogen sulphide through natural ion exchange capacity
      • Increases the rate of nitrogen cycling by promoting the conversion of ammonia to ammonium


    • Greatly increases bacterial metabolic rate by supplying essential nutrients and trace elements
    • Improves the ability to handle shock loads as microbes have less die-off in their restive state
    • Improves bacterial breakdown of organic material as microbe activity is enhanced

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