Researchers with the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s (GTRI) Agricultural Technology Research Program continue to add modules to their Poultry System Simulation Model. The system-of-systems model for poultry processing simulates plant water usage, wastewater content, and energy consumption to help processors pinpoint areas for production improvements.
“The Poultry System Simulation Model is designed as a fully customizable tool that poultry processors can use to evaluate production-related needs that are specific to a particular plant and link them with existing solutions,” explains Olga Kemenova, GTRI research engineer and project director.
Nicknamed PRYSSM by the research team, the model’s interrelated modules afford poultry processing plant managers the opportunity to evaluate alternatives to current practices that could potentially result in water quality improvements or reductions in water use at poultry plants, actionable cost benefit analyses of wastewater treatment options, and accurate estimations of power consumption.
How PRYSSM’s Modules Work
Water & Wastewater Modules
The water and wastewater modules work together seamlessly. The water module uses monthly bird production rates and live bird weights as input parameters to simulate water usage in processes such as stunning, scalding, plucking, chilling, and general sewer discharge. The wastewater module is designed to operate based on outputs of the water model and calculates contaminants concentrations in wastewater flow such as total suspended solids (TSS); biochemical oxygen demand (BOD); fats, oil, and grease (FOG); total kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN); and phosphorus.
Researchers recently validated the water and wastewater modules at a local poultry processing plant. Preliminary results confirmed PRYSSM’s predictive capabilities, with outputs on par with the plant’s typically measured contaminants levels.
“We were pleased to discover that our model performed as intended, and that industry sees it as a useful tool for estimating production and quality outputs,” says Kemenova.
The energy module simulates power consumption associated with pumping, filtering, heating, and cooling water inside the plant as well as wastewater treatment operations. Inputs that are currently varied include water flow for each process, number of chickens processed, and wastewater components included in the treatment process. Based on those inputs, energy consumption is calculated for each process. The outputs of the module can be represented in several different forms such as charts and data tables.
Plant managers can use the energy module to evaluate current power consumption, compare it with industry best practices, identify operations that are falling behind industry standards, and develop strategies for improvements.
The team is currently working on adding a labor module to PRYSSM that will simulate labor requirements to pinpoint areas for better allocation. But, explains Kemenova, the module will go beyond a simple assessment of how many workers of a particular type should be employed. It will also include economic analyses associated with changes in workforce composition if plant managers decide to change current practices in favor of new technologies and automation.
In addition, researchers are also characterizing water samples to determine wastewater composition at different stages of processing and treatment operations.
“Knowing wastewater composition at different stages of processing and at each stage of treatment will allow for better identification and evaluation of water reuse options and allow for better placement of new treatment technologies,” says Kemenova.
PRYSSM’s high level of customization allows plant managers to evaluate design modifications in the production and water treatment processes before committing to actual building contracts and expenditures.
Kemenova says the team will continue to enhance PRYSSM, with interest in adding modules to simulate additional processes that are not well understood but still important to industry like water recirculation.