Inside the corrugated tin shed that serves as the top-secret test site for Vortex Dehydration Technology’s strange new invention, Frank Polifka cranks open a valve and unleashes the force of a tornado.
Compressed air rushes into an eight-foot-tall steel cone and whirls counterclockwise at tremendous speeds, producing winds capable of turning rock into dust. It also emits a knee-buckling shriek that prompts Polifka to clap his hands over his ears and sends others staggering away.
Visitors want to know whether it really offers a new technology for mining precious metals, pulverizing trash, grinding concrete into a powder that can be reconstituted with water.
But the keenest interest so far is from poultry people who are watching closely to see whether it can revolutionize the way billions of pounds of chicken byproducts — the feet, feathers, heads and entrails that don’t end up in the supermarket — are processed.