Skip to main content
Skip to navigation

Researchers at MU Improve Farming

Cutting Propane Costs


The Waste Heat Recovery system is manufactured by Heartland Farm Energy based out of Boonville, Mo. Photo courtesy of Shawn Xu.

It is 1 in the morning and a winter storm is rolling through that could easily cause a huge down swing of the temperature of your poultry barn where thousands of turkeys reside. What do you do?

If you’re Austin Kliethermes, nothing. That’s because he has the state-of-the-art Waste Heat Recovery (WHR) system installed inside the starter house of his farm in southwestern Cooper County (Mo.), where 17,000 turkeys are being raised at any given time.

By having the system reclaim heat from exhaust air inside the barn to preheat incoming fresh air, Kliethermes is able to sleep soundly, knowing that the air will be stabilized and well circulated without having to make any last-minute adjustments with the barn’s curtain.

“It helps keep my barns more comfortable,” Kliethermes said. “It gives me a little bit more control over what I have going on inside there.”

And a lot more savings in propane costs. Kliethermes estimates that before implanting the system late last summer, he was spending on average $30,000 (21,000 gallons) a year on propane costs alone. Now as he approaches the one-year installation anniversary, he has seen his propane usage drop by 40 percent. That’s only one of the benefits, though, which also include producing healthier birds that could be more resistant to diseases, helping to proactively fight off the avian influenza that has struck fear in everyone involved in the poultry industry over the past few months. Read more at