Nonmarket valuation of an ultrafiltration system for recycling chiller water in the poultry processing industry
Saravia Diaz, Horacio
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The poultry industry is the single largest agribusiness industry in Georgia and one of the most important in the United States, but it faces multiple water usage problems stemming from rising water and sewer charges and increasing pollution regulations. One way to reduce water usage and wastewater is through recycling the chiller water used in processing. Food scientists and applied economists at the University of Georgia are collaborating on research to evaluate the operational and economic effectiveness of ultrafiltration membrane technologies (polymeric) at a pilot poultry processing plant in Georgia. On-site tests of membrane systems are underway. Preliminary economic analysis is positive (return rate approximates 36.7 percent and the pay-back period 5.8 years), supporting considerable variations on cost scenarios. The hedonic approach revealed that only BOD and OG reduction capacity of the filtration system were statistically significant estimators of the pilot plants willingness to pay for the filtration system. Economically efficient technological breakthroughs are essential if the U.S. poultry industry is to continue operating competitively.