Crowder College MARET (Missouri Alternative and Renewable Energy Technology) Center instructor, Rebekah Starkweather, is working on a winter ventilation project for broiler houses to help reduce energy use during the winter months.
The US Department of Agriculture lists 145,615 poultry farmers in the United States with an average of four broiler houses per farmer. Propane is the common fuel used for heating in temperate climates with a typical broiler house consuming $7000 to $10,000 a year. Rapidly rising fuel costs are forcing farmers to look for new approaches to help keep their operations profitable. Fuel use represents the largest percentage of energy costs during the winter. Heat loss through the fan ventilation system is most prevalent in broiler houses. The HRV system will recover heat in the ventilation air and complement the existing ventilation system.
This collaborative effort is researching a new ventilation approach to provide area poultry growers with an opportunity to decrease their heating expense and provide an environment conducive to poultry performance by utilizing heat recovery ventilation. This would improve profitability and reduce the carbon footprint for broiler farms to improve environmental quality.
The project started in October of 2010 with the purchase of equipment followed by the installation of HRV and monitoring. The first trial ran from January – March of 2011. The second trial began March of 2011 and will end in May of 2011. Evaluation of the data and findings will be submitted for publication after the completion of the second trial.
Key members of this study have been Starkweather, Biofuels Technology Instructor at Crowder College; Aubrey “Bill” Reynolds, Engineering Consultant for Benchmark Group, Rogers, AR; Scott Madden, Sales and Business Development Director of American Aldes Ventilation Corporation, Bradenton, FL; University of Arkansas Poultry Research Farm Program Manager, Tom Tabler, PhD; University of Arkansas Biological and Agricultural Engineering Assistant Professor, Yi Liang, PhD; Scott Carter of Jack T. Carter Company, Rogers, AR; and Richard Ver Muelen of Northwest Arkansas Sheet Metal, Rogers, AR.