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The Raw Deal on Raw Manure: Manure Means Fresh Food — So Why Does the FDA Want to Shut It Down?

January 23, 2017

“We think of [animal manure] as the best thing in the world,” NPR quoted organic farmer Jim Crawford. “And [the FDA] think[s] of it as toxic and nasty and disgusting.” <…

And the FDA may be onto something: Millions of Americans get sick each year from food-borne illnesses, caused by pathogens like salmonella. Those bad bacteria, viruses and microbes can live in the soil, and can get there on the back of fresh, raw manure. In fact, some of those baddies can live in the soil for more than 300 days, according to some reports. <…

With so much on the line, the FDA says, “better safe than sorry.” The federal agency has taken on new food safety authority since 2011 with the Food Safety Modernization Act, and is considering the addition of more food safety rules for consumer protection, like banning harvest for nine months on any field that uses raw manure. <…

For organic farmers like Crawford, banning that “nice black manure that’s just rich and full of good microorganisms” would shut him down. “We wouldn’t even be able to function,” he told NPR.

So what’s a manure-lover to do?

Will Daniel of Earthbound Farm is opting for “a pelletized, processed chicken manure product” that’s been treated with heat and pressure to kill all microbes, according to NPR. “We’ve gone in that direction because we feel that it’s very important to assure that we are not spreading these pathogens in our fields, that could lead to contaminated product,” he says.

Using processed manure works in conjunction with FDA rules because the regulations cover raw manure only — not processed manure. A special manure-drying process, like one that uses rotary dryers designed by Uzelac Industries, can dry raw manure using high enough temperatures to reduce the bad pathogens found in natural manure. That process helps to address the FDA’s concerns: The result is a processed manure product that retains the best part of fresh manure, designed with pathogen-kill in mind. It’s a win-win for everybody.

We’d love to talk turkey (and more fowl subjects) at the International Poultry Expo Jan. 31 – Feb 2. Give Uzelac Industries a call — we’ll be there!

Europe’s Use of Wood Pellets for Energy is Fueling U.S. Opportunity

March 19, 2015

As Europe increases its use of wood pellets to supplement coal as an energy source, U.S. wood pellet producers are exporting more pellets across “the pond.” From 2012 to 2013, wood pellet exports from the U.S. nearly doubled, with more than 98% of all exports shipping to Europe, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

In 2013, the U.S. was the world’s top wood pellet-producing country (5.7 million metric tons), followed by Germany (2.2 million metric tons) and Canada (1.8 million metric tons), according to the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization. When it came to exporting wood pellets, the U.S. and Canada topped the list.

Europe’s increasing demand for wood pellets has been driven mainly by requirements of the European Union’s climate and energy use goals for 2020. In response, new pellet processing plants are appearing in the U.S., especially in southeast and mid-Atlantic states accessible to wood harvesting areas and shipping ports. Some of these new plants can produce 500,000 metric tons of wood pellets per year.

After trees are harvested and debarked, the wood must be dried to reduce moisture content from about 50% to approximately 10% to create condensed, high-efficiency-burning pellets. This has created an opportunity for equipment manufacturers in the U.S., specifically large rotary dryer manufacturers.

We are keeping a close eye on wood pellets as a growing biomass energy source and the role of rotary drying technology. Meanwhile, South Korea also has an emerging wood pellet market, which could mean more processing plants in the future of the northwestern U.S.

The International Biomass Conference & Expo (April 20-22 in Minneapolis, MN) will feature the latest on wood pellets and much more in the world of biomass. Visit Uzelac Industries at Booth 105 – see you there!

3D Modeling and Building a Better Product

November 10, 2014

The American manufacturing sector has been on the rebound in the past few years, but that doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels. A manufacturer who doesn’t take advantage of the most recent technological advancements risks falling behind the competition. Advancements like 3D modeling will have far-reaching effects on the entire manufacturing sector. We’ve recently begun using the 3D design software SolidWorks, and we would have to admit that, now that we’ve seen the program’s advantages, it would be extremely difficult to go back to our old way of doing things.


3D modeling offers a number of advantages to manufacturers. The most important one is that this technology can let us get a much better look at a component in the design phase. Compared to a 2D drawing, we may be able to better spot flaws or areas where the design can be improved when we take a look at the 3D model generated by SolidWorks. We can fix potentially expensive mistakes before the manufacturing stage starts. Actually, we now have clients asking us if we’re using SolidWorks because they know how it can speed up the manufacturing process and make it more efficient


We look forward to seeing the continued evolution of this technology and how it improves our manufacturing process. We will embrace anything that helps us manufacture a better product, and we get the impression that this is just the beginning for 3D modeling for Uzelac Industries.Sketch to SolidWorks

Versatility is our Competitive Edge

October 17, 2014

“We haven’t seen a product we couldn’t dry.” Really, it’s true. In our numerous years of experience drying biosolids and many other by-products, we seldom come across an application that we couldn’t handle. We attribute this to our company’s versatility and willingness to accommodate all of our customers’ needs.

Custom Drying SystemWhen we say we have dried everything from blood to wood, we really mean it. Our past applications have included blood meal, bone meal, eggshells, feather meal, fish meal, bakery waste, wood, cellulosic, paper waste, manures, poultry manure, hatchery waste, municipal biosolids and DAFT solids, algae, pork skin, and poultry processing residue, among others. We have had customers come to us over the years with a wide variety of products that needed to be dried, and virtually every time, we have developed a custom solution to meet their needs.

Our versatility and flexibility in this manner has allowed us to design these custom systems. When it comes to our drying system, the main equipment remains the same, no matter the end application or customer specifications. The supplementary components are then developed in order to meet specifications. Depending on the product that has to be dried and how sensitive the application may be (for example, blood is more sensitive and therefore needs to be treated more carefully), we determine how the peripheral equipment should be developed. No matter the application, we ensure that the system maintains the integrity of the product as a baseline across the board.By-product being dried

At the end of the day, we see ourselves as a supplier of a complete solution, as opposed to a supplier of simply a dryer. We have the capabilities of designing and manufacturing systems that can handle almost any product and meet most specifications, including taking efficient emissions control or more sensitive product into consideration. We strive on being a turnkey solution provider to our customers. Our versatility and willingness to be flexible allows us to create a drying system to accommodate many different needs—really, we haven’t faced a challenge we couldn’t find a way to dry.

An Earth-Friendly, Wallet-Friendly Alternative to Biosolids Management

May 30, 2014

When it comes to biosolids management, there are three traditional solutions, none of which truly address the future.

These three solutions are to mechanically dewater solids and then transfer them to a landfill; mechanically dewater solids and then incinerate them; and land applications which can be accomplished in two fashions: storing solids in liquid form in a holding tank until injecting them into the ground, or drying the product into a fertilizer type of product. The third method can be problematic, as DNRs are often prohibiting this due to pollution/ground contamination. All three methods are either very costly, finite, and/or not earth-friendly; what happens when landfill space doesn’t exist anymore? Where will we be in 20 years?

This is where we come in. At Uzelac, we offer a unique alternative: our Biosolids Management Solution (BMS). Unlike incineration, which requires more energy from fossil fuels, we take the same concept, but dry the product to 90% solids, then burn it in a furnace, using the heat from that burning process to run it through the dryer. This greatly reduces the fuel requirement, using fuel only to start up, and therefore acts as a self-sufficient system.

As a result, over 90% less volume is placed in landfills, and fuel costs associated with incineration are eliminated. Only the hazard-free ash by-product remains, and the overall environmental impact is significantly reduced. Capital costs are less than 25% of the cost of incineration, resulting in a fast return on investment.

For many American municipalities, the cost of replacing an incinerator could be upwards of $30 million. Alternatively, our BMS system could handle the same volume for a fraction of the cost. Furthermore, landfill use can be anywhere from $25/ton to $80/ton depending on the region, and since our system produces so much less volume, cost savings are enormous. The remaining ash by-product has a market value as an aggregate product. Furthermore, the system is significantly smaller than an incinerator.

The BMS system uses technology that’s been proven for decades, but in a novel approach, resulting in lower operating costs, less energy use, and decreased landfill requirements—overall, a green, money-saving alternative that addresses the current and future needs of biosolids management.

Save the Date: Residuals and Biosolids 2014

April 30, 2014

For many years, we have worked with countless clients in the municipal sludge processing and biosolids industries. We are constantly working on new and improved technologies for these clients, and we always enjoy learning more about what’s happening in these industries as a whole.

One of the best ways to do this is by regularly attending trade shows, which offer the opportunity to interact with old and new friends, showcase our products, gain knowledge on trends and industry news, and remain up-to-date.

With all of that in mind, we are looking forward to the upcoming Residuals and Biosolids 2014 conference, May 18-21 in Austin, Texas. Organized by the Water Environment Federation’s Residuals and Biosolids Committee, along with the Water Environment Association of Texas, this exciting conference focuses on residuals and biosolids management, and it’s one of the largest municipal-oriented gatherings of its kind.

Over four days, technical sessions, educational workshops, and exhibitions will allow attendees and exhibitors to communicate, learn, and share information—opportunities that will prove to be invaluable.

At the conference, we will be showcasing our range of drying technologies, which include drying systems used for municipal solids and offer the unique advantage of creating marketable by-products.

We expect that our Uzelac Biosolids Management Solution (BMS) system will generate a lot of interest as well. It’s a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly alternative to incineration, and we’re excited to meet people who can benefit from this unique, highly advantageous solution.

As always, we’re looking forward to getting out there, seeing familiar faces, meeting new people, and learning more about all the technology that’s occurring in the industry. We hope to see you there—come visit us at Booth 707!

Our Second Trip to the International Biomass Conference

March 17, 2014

We are extremely excited to attend this year’s International Biomass Conference & Expo in Orlando, Florida. This conference attracts industry professionals from all over the world. People who work in bio-based power, thermal energy, and a number of other industries in the biomass sector will all be making their way to the Sunshine State for this landmark event. This is where equipment manufacturers, utility workers, tech providers, and even investors can get together and share ideas. The event’s organizers are expecting to see over 1,600 attendees this year and the show just keeps on growing in popularity. It is a great opportunity for us to keep up with the latest in new project development in large pellet operations and explore some other topics like pellet production emissions or big changes in plant design.

The expo will host a number of speakers and panels in four different “tracks.” There will be discussions about Biomass Power & Thermal, Biogas & Landfill Gas, Advanced Biofuels, and the topic that most closely applies to our company, Pellets & Densified Biomass. This track will shine a spotlight on this expanding market and give conference attendees the latest info about mill operation and management, pellet mill design, feedstock procurement strategies, and a number of other topics. As we work continuously to improve our operations, events like this are a great way to catch up on the newest ideas and advancements in our industry.Biomass Booth

So if you’re attending the show on March 24th, make sure you stop by and say hi! We’ll be exhibiting our drying system tech at Booth 219.

Our Partnership to Help Reduce Process Waste

February 12, 2014

If you’ve been following our blog, you’ve learned (or been reminded) of all of the ways in which the volume of food waste is addressed in the beef and poultry industry. The rendering industry has stepped in to address the needs of those producing our meat, but there are many other types of food waste.

In addition to our customers in the meat rendering industry, we do business with other types of food waste recyclers. One of our customers, Custom Blenders, offers removal and recycling services to commercial bakeries and other confectionary food manufacturers. Like the meat industry, these services help many food manufacturers reach recycling goals and reduce waste output. The bakery waste collected is recycled into high-energy animal feed ingredients that prove quite popular among feed producers.Custom Blenders

Recycling food waste is beneficial for many reasons, not the least of which is a respect for our environment. By reducing the amount of material that is put into landfills from bakery waste, and by supplying an economical advantage to both bakeries and the end users of the animal feed, Custom Blenders is in a great position in the industry, and it’s no wonder they’ve seen great success and growth. The flexible capabilities of their removal and transportation services combined with the support of our custom dryers make us a great team for responsible bakery waste treatment and repurposing.

We’re proud to partner with companies like Custom Blenders to take advantage of technology to help reduce process waste from other industries and make a useful product out of material that would otherwise end up doing more harm than good.

“The dedication to our needs by the Uzelac Industries team should be the model for all customer vendor relations. There remain many byproducts in need of more friendly recycling solutions. Uzelac Industries has been helpful in assisting us with solutions to those problems. We look forward to working with Uzelac on future projects as our growth will require.” said Adam Cowan, Special Projects and Business Development from Custom Blenders.

Rendering Part 3: Beef and Pork

December 13, 2013

If you’ve ever watched an expert butcher at work, it’s really an amazing thing.  To conclude our series on the rendering industry, we’d like to take a look at what this video doesn’t address: where the parts of the pig (and other red meats – namely cow) that don’t get eaten go.

As we saw with poultry, there are many parts of the animals that don’t get used for traditional consumption, but can be sustainably recycled back into various other things including feed supplements, fertilizer, and other byproducts.  As with poultry, there are several notable byproducts from beef and pork rendering, with perhaps the most recognizable product being soap – this comes from rendering excess or unused fat, which you can even do at home.

The other big areas for beef and pork rendering are blood and bone meal.  These are nitrogen-rich resources used in organic fertilizer, and for feed supplements.  In the past, these processes were done “wet”, by essentially cooking the excess parts in huge vats of water and separating oils and fats in that way.  These processes gave way to dehydrating and drying the materials, as drying proved to be a much more efficient process, and produced less waste-water.

At Uzelac Industries, we provide dryers to several processors in the rendering industry, in poultry, beef, and pork.   We create totally unique custom solutions for our customers to fit the needs and specifications of their specific processes.  It is with pride that we contribute to what is considered to be one of the oldest forms of recycling.

Want to weigh in?  Tweet @UzelacInd – we’d love to hear from you.

Rendering Part 2: The Poultry Processing Industry

November 6, 2013

In our last blog we gave a brief overview of the broad reach of the rendering industry.  Today, we’re taking a look at a particular piece: poultry.

Even within the poultry industry, there are multiple processes in which rendering steps in and puts to good use the things that are unused or overlooked.  For instance, the parts of the birds that are not edible – mainly feathers and bones – are obviously not used for meat, but renderers can process and dry them, turning them into what’s called feather meal and bone meal respectively, which are used as organic feed supplements and fertilizers.   Similarly, eggshells, which would otherwise be discarded by food manufacturers and processors, are often instead ground into a powder, and used as a calcium supplement in feed.

Another process waste stream that rendering takes advantage of comes from dissolved air flotation, or DAF, a technique to clarify and separate wastewater.  DAF is often thought to be only related to chemical and petrochemical processes, but many food processing plants generate wastewater as well.  For poultry and other meat processors, the wastewater can clarified by the DAF process, and the resulting fats, oils, and other DAF material can be skimmed off the top, processed and then dried.

The advantages of these “recycled” materials are many and great – the meal is organic, and so it complies with many standards for feed and fertilizer that specify the need for organically sourced ingredients.  Additionally, the use of products that otherwise would be considered waste can create alternate sources of revenue for the processors, incentivizing their use, while at the same time being environmentally friendly by using byproducts that would otherwise end up in landfills.  The benefits for and to the poultry industry make rendering a must for many – next time we’ll take a look at how the process affects our four-legged forms of meat – beef and pork.

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