The first poultry manure-powered power plant went into operation in England in 1992.
It was a conventional boiler with a moving grate, fed by 140,000 tons of poultry manure per year.
Worldwide, in the early 2000s, there were five large poultry manure plants, four of which in England and one in the United States.
In addition to grid boilers, fluidized bed boilers were also used for the combustion of poultry manure. For thermal poultry manure treatments, other types of boilers have also been tested, in particular gasification plants, but, until 2008, this use was limited to small plants and laboratory applications.
In general, the thermal treatments of the poultry manure have also highlighted some problems in particular when the boilers are fed with poultry manure with a high degree of humidity; problems have also occurred in grid boilers due to the low melting temperature of the ashes produced by the combustion of pollen.
The advantages of combustion are the high calorific value of dry poultry manure, and the fact that the ashes produced can have an useful use in agricoltural farm.
The ashes produced by combustion and fume treatment are obviously sterile, easy to store and transport and with a presence of phosphorus and potassium which could justify their use as fertilizers.
However, the concomitant presence of toxic organic contaminants (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins) formed during combustion is possible, which could make the agronomic use of pollen ash problematic.
There are not evidence regarding toxicity of the poultry manure ash, on the other hand these kind of problems have emerged with the ash of municipal waste.