The project, by Dr John Abraham for his Ph.D, was conducted at the Veterinary College and Research Institute (VC&RI). Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University statistics show that the daily average mortality rate of egg laying chicken is 0.03%. "On an average about 4,000 birds die every day. About 90% of them are disposed of under unhygienic conditions," Dr Abraham noted.
Calculating the annual mortality rate at 12,000,000 birds in this district, Abraham realised the opportunity in the form of extracting fat of dead birds and producing bio-diesel from two different methods. While each bird weighs about 1.5 kg, fat constitutes 14.5% of the bird's weight.
"Of the two methods, solvent extraction method makes it possible to extract 97% of the bird's fat and needs six birds for extracting a litre of diesel. Sixty-three per cent fat extraction is possible through centrifugal method and requires 16 birds for producing the same quantity of diesel," he noted.
"The cost of producing a litre of diesel using centrifugal method is Rs. 35.68 per litre, against the solvent extraction method where it is only Rs. 22 per litre. Every year, 200,000 litres of biodiesel could be produced with layer birds that die in poultry farms in Namakkal through solvent extraction. Establishing a solvent extraction plant costs Rs. 2.5 crore, which is more than establishing a centrifugal plant," he said.
Dr. Abraham added that the bio-diesel could be used as a low-cost blend with diesel at 20% with 80% of diesel, which has been successfully tested and put to use. The quality assessment of bio-diesel from poultry carcass was done at the Center of Excellence in Bio-Fuel at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. TANUVAS has applied for a patent for the processes.