Performance and Payback of a Solid-Liquid Separation Finishing Barn

A 1200-hd solid-liquid separation finishing barn was built in Missouri for improved manure management and air quality. The facility has a wide V-shaped gutter below slatted flooring (Figure 1), which continuously drains away liquids.  A scraper is used to collect the solids, which are then managed separately. Field sampling and research were conducted to evaluate the performance of the solid-liquid separation finishing barn in improving manure nutrient management, potential nutrient/water recycling based on filtration, and barn construction and operating costs.

What did we do?

The barn (built in 2010) was closely monitored for manure production and nutrient content, and operating costs. Laboratory-scale pretreatments and filtrations were conducted to evaluate the practicality of nutrient/water recycling from the separated liquid manure.

What we have learned?

The daily liquid manure production averaged 885 gallons and daily solid manure production averaged 299 gallons (about ¼ of the total manure volume). The separation system removed 61.7%, 41.7%, 74.8%, and 46.2% of the total manure nitrogen, ammonium, phosphorous, and potassium, respectively, with the collected solids. The filtration results indicate that the microfiltration and reverse osmosis were time and energy intensive, which was probably constrained by the relatively small-scale unit (inefficient compared with larger units), small filter surface area, and high concentration of dissolved nutrients.

The construction cost of the solid-liquid separation barn with solid manure storage was $323,000 ($269/pig-space, in 2010), 17% higher compared to the traditional deep-pit barn ($175 to $230/pig-space). It is likely that the solid-liquid separation barn will become less expensive when more barns of similar design are built, and the conveyor system can be improved and simplified for less maintenance and lower costs. Additional electricity cost was $331 per year for daily operation of the scraper and conveyor systems, and pumping the separated liquid manure fraction. The additional maintenance cost of the scraper system averaged $1,673/year. A net gain of $3,975/year was observed when considering the value of the separated manures, cost of land application, and annual maintenance cost.

A payback period of 15.1 years on the additional investment was estimated, when compared with the popular deep-pit operation. However, the payback period can be reduced by many factors, including improved conveyor system and growing popularity of the barn design in an area. When the distance to transport the slurry manure was increased from 5 miles to 7.5 and 10 miles, the payback periods became 12.7 and 11.3 years, respectively. The solid-liquid separation barn was shown to have better air quality when compared with deep-pit barns based on monthly measurements of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide concentrations.

Impacts/Implications of the Research.  

This study monitored the manure production of a commercial finishing barn utilizing a solid-liquid separation system. Overall, we can conclude that the final results obtained from monitoring the total manure production rate, air quality exiting the barn fans, and the pig growth rates made sense relative to other comparative sources. The overall results indicate that the barn design can attain some valuable benefits from separating the solid and liquid streams.  About a quarter of the manure volume was collected and managed as nutrient-dense solid manure (defined as ‘stackable’). The solid manure held 80% of the total solids and nearly 75% of the phosphorous.

Take Home Message

There are alternative barn designs and manure management systems (relative to lagoon and deep-pit operations) that should be considered when planning for a new operation or expansion. Considerations should include the need to better manage manure nutrients and improve air quality for human and animal occupants.

Future plans

Further consideration of the manure management, including work load and major- and micro-nutrients need to be furthered analyzed. Future research may look into application of a larger-scale crossflow system to see if nutrient removal and flow rates can be improved significantly. Future research may focus on improving manure filtrate flow, and determining the cost of installation and upkeep for a filtration unit that can operate at the level of a farm operation. Extrapolating the costs off of bench-scale model does not seem remotely indicative of the true cost, due to improved efficiency and power of larger unit.

Authors

Lim, Teng (Associate Professor and Extension Agricultural Engineer, Agricultural Systems Management, University of Missouri, limt@missouri.edu)

Brown, Joshua (University of Missouri); Zulovich, Joseph (University of Missouri); and Massey, Ray (University of Missouri).

Additional information

Please visit https://www.pork.org/research/sustainability-evaluation-solid-liquid-manure-separation-operation/ for the final report, and ASABE Paper No. 1801273 (St. Joseph, Mich.: ASABE. DOI: https://doi.org/10.13031/aim.201801273) for more information.

Acknowledgements

Funding for this research project was provided by the National Pork Checkoff and University of Missouri Extension.

Figure 1. The V-shape pit with automated manure scraper and trough at center (Left), and gravity draining of liquid manure from the trough to the sump pit (Right).
Figure 1. The V-shape pit with automated manure scraper and trough at center (Left), and gravity draining of liquid manure from the trough to the sump pit (Right).
Figure 2. The storage shed for solid manure to the north of the modified scraper barn (Left), and stored solid manure (Right).
Figure 2. The storage shed for solid manure to the north of the modified scraper barn (Left), and stored solid manure (Right).

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2019. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth. Minneapolis, MN. April 22-26, 2019. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Benefits of Using Liquid-Solid Separation with Manure Treatment Lagoons

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Why Study Manure Treatment Lagoons?

Treatment lagoons are one of the most common biological treatment methods used on swine and dairy farms that use recycled supernatant as a means to remove manure from animal housing facilities by flushing. A properly functioning treatment lagoon will provide adequate treatment to allow reuse of the effluent without compromising animal health or generating strong odor.

chart

A typical treatment lagoon system used on swine and dairy farms.

A lagoon should have a minimum biological treatment volume and provide sufficient volume for settling and storage of  sludge to provide the needed levels of treatment prior to recycling. This presentation will provide a summary of the benefits of using liquid-solid separation to maintain and potentially reduce the required treatment volume, reduce sludge build-up, increase useful life of an existing lagoon, and to reduce the size of new lagoons based on the ASABE Standard. Information will also be provided concerning desired loading rates and supernatant concentrations for recycling, and impacts of odor production potential.

chart

Components of a treatment lagoon for animal manure.

What Did We Do?

The ASABE Lagoon Standard (ANSI/ASAE EP403.4, ASABE 2011) was used to calculate lagoon treatment volumes for swine and dairy manure using volatile solid loading rates for a variety of climates ranging from a cold climate, such as Southern Minnesota (3 lb VS/1000 ft3-day), to a hot climate, such as Central Florida (6.0 lb VS/1000 ft3-day). Liquid-solid separation methods can provide a reduction in the mass of VS in the liquid fraction by 10% to 80%. The corresponding reduction in treatment volume were also determined for swine and dairy manure over a wide range of climates.

The ASABE Standard also provides a method to estimate sludge storage volume requirments per year for swine and dairy lagoons that is based on the total solids loaded into a lagoon. The impact of implementing solid-liquid separation on the sludge accumulation rate was also destermined for TS removals in the range of 20% to 80%.

What Have We Learned?

The percent reduction in treatment volume of a lagoon was the same as the mass fraction of VS removed by liquid-solid separation. That is, a 30% reduction in VS provided a 30% reduction in treatment volume. The practical result is that implementation of liquid-solid separation system that can remove 30% of the VS would allow pork producers in the Midwest to use similar treatment volumes as pork producers located in South Carolina or Central Georgia.

Liquid-solid separation also reduced sludge build up in lagoons by the same percentage as the TS removal efficiency. Therefore, a 30% reduction in TS will reduce sludge accumulation by30%.

Reduction in TS and VS loading can help to reduce odors from lagoons, reduce the size of the lagoon needed to provide treatment, and can yield better treated surface water for flushing manure from the buildings.

Removal of large portions of the VS (60% to 80% reduction) using high-rate liquid-solid separation methods has the added benefit of greatly reducing the amount of the organic-N loaded. As a result, less organic-N will be converted to ammonium-N in a lagoon where a portion will be lost to the air as ammonia.

Future Plans

This information will be published as part of a new USDA-NRCS technical note or as part of the National Engineering Handbook, Part 651 Agricultural Waste Management Field Handbook.

Authors

Dr. John P. Chastain, Professor and Extension Agricultural Engineer,  School of Agricultural, Forestry, and Environmental Sciences, Clemson University jchstn@clemson.edu

Jeffrey P. Porter, P.E. Environmental Engineer   Manure Management Team USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service

Additional Information

Solid-Liquid Separation Alterntives for Manure Handling Treatment, a new USDA-NRCS technical note or as part of the National Engineering Handbook, Part 651 Agricultural Waste Management Field Handbook.

Acknowledgements

Piedmont-South Atlantic Coast Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit (CESU).  This Cooperative and Joint Venture Agreement allowed for this work to take place.

Manure Management Team USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Greensboro, NC

Additional support was provided by the Confined Animal Manure Managers Program, Clemson Extension, Clemson University, Clemson, SC.

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2013. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Denver, CO. April 1-5, 2013. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.