ABVRS technology to recycle waste products into fishmeal and fish oil. (Photo: Jason Adams/auburn.edu)
New technology cleanly recycles catfish byproducts
Wednesday, July 11, 2012, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
A catfish farm in Alabama will experience the debut of a patented Auburn University-developed process that cleanly converts inedible waste from the slaughter of animals into marketable products.
Alabama Protein Products LLC, the university’s process, is the first private venture ever to use the trademarked Agricultural Byproduct Value Recovery System (ABVRS) -- a quick, energy-efficient and environmentally responsible rendering process that creates no foul odors, toxic emissions or wastewater while it turns animal tissue from food processing plants and other agricultural byproducts into high-protein fish meal for use in poultry, livestock and fish feed and omega-3 fish oil. It will be employed at Kyser Family Farms in Hale County.
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"As it is now, it costs the Alabama catfish industry about USD 1 million a year to haul catfish offal from processors here to the catfish rendering plant in west Mississippi," said Bill Kyser of Kyser Farms. "The renderer pays the processor for the raw offal, but sometimes the freight is more than the offal is worth. If we keep the offal and process it here and make it more valuable, then our fish will be more valuable."
Jesse Chappell, an associate professor of fisheries and allied aquacultures at Auburn and lead researcher on the system, noted that as opposed to traditional rendering, the ABVRS uses high heat and relatively simple drying technology that eliminates the cooking process and related environmental problems.
High-fat, high-moisture slaughterhouse byproducts are ground and mixed with a compatible meal and loaded into the central processing unit, where air of 800 F instantly evaporates 90 per cent of the moisture and releases it into the atmosphere as clean, odor-free steam. The hot air forces the dehydrated material through the unit, where the internal temperature is maintained at 240 °F, and the finished meal exits the system at 160-190 °F.
The entire process takes about 60 s.
"I have watched the prototype equipment run, and I believe in the process," said Kyser, who has agreements with processors Heartland Catfish and SouthFresh Catfish to buy offal generated at their Alabama plants.
"Conventional rendering plants are large because they include wastewater treatment facilities, and they have to be located in remote, relatively isolated areas because of the offensive smells they produce, but the technology that has come out of Auburn eliminates the foul odors, so that ABVRS facilities can be built on farms, or catfish or poultry processors can build them on site," Mosley highlighted. "That means they retain ownership of the resulting meal and oil, which allows the offal to become a profit centre instead of a costly disposal problem."
Chappell predicted that Kysers' Alabama Protein Products could "revolutionize how byproducts from catfish and other meat processing plants are handled, in Alabama and the world."
Last month, Falcon Protein partnered with an Illinois-based plant that by 2013 will be processing invasive Asian carp from the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Using the ABVRS technology, Falcon will recycle the waste products into fishmeal and fish oil.
By Natalia Real