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Anaerobic digester planned for prison

A prison in the US is to install a thermophilic anaerobic digester covering 3-4 acres which will produce about 1MW of electricity each year, with the electricity generated both powering the site and being fed onto the grid.

The electricity will be created through the use of about 5,500 tonnes of poultry litter each year and the facility is scheduled to come online in 2013.

EcoCorp, an energy company based in northern Virginia, is to build the facility at Maryland's Eastern Shore Correctional Institute and the feedstock used will be gathered locally as Delaware and Maryland produce about 13 million m³ of chicken waste a year.

The site, which houses about 3,000 prisoners, is working towards a target of having 20% of its energy derived from renewable sources by 2020, as part of a state initiative.

The state government says it will also purchase the electricity generated by the anaerobic digester under a 20 year agreement.