Revenue Streams from Poultry Manure in Anaerobic Digestion (AD)

DUCTOR Corp. has developed a biological process that separates and captures nitrogen (ammonia) from organic waste streams. The biogas industry is a natural platform for this biotechnology as it solves the problem of ammonia inhibition, which has long bedeviled traditional anaerobic digestion (AD) processes. DUCTOR’s technology allows for stabilized and optimized biogas production from 100% high nitrogen feedstocks (such as poultry manure) and significantly strengthens the economics of biogas facilities: relatively inexpensive inputs, optimized gas production as well as new, higher value revenue streams from the organically produced byproducts—a pure Nitrogen fertilizer and a high Phosphorus soil amendment. DUCTOR’s mission is to promote biogas as a renewable energy source while securing efficient waste management and sustainable food & energy production, supporting the development of circular economies.

Purpose

Figure 1. High Nitrogen Feedstock-molecular structure
Figure 1. High Nitrogen Feedstock

High concentrations of ammonia in organic waste streams have been a perpetual challenge to the biogas industry as ammonia is a powerful inhibitor of biogas production. In typical methanogenic communities, as ammonia levels exceed 1500mg/L Ammonia-N, the inhibition of methane production begins until it reaches toxic levels above 3000mg/L. Traditionally, various mechanical and chemical methods have been deployed to lower ammonia concentrations in high nitrogen organic feedstocks prior to or following biodigestion (Figure 1). These methods have proven cumbersome and operationally unstable. They either require dilution with often costly supplemental feedstocks, are fresh water intensive, waste valuable nutrients, or require caustic chemicals injurious to the environment. Without the application of these methods, nitrogen levels will build up in the digester and negatively affect the efficiency of biogas (methane) production. DUCTOR’s proprietary process revolutionizes ammonia removal with a biological approach, which not only optimizes the operational and economic performance of biogas production, it also allows for the ammonia to be recaptured and recycled as an organic fertilizer product (a 5-0-0 Ammonia Water). This biotechnical innovation represents a significant advancement in biogas technology.  

What did we do?

DUCTOR’s innovation is the invention of a fermentation step prior to the classic anaerobic digestion process of a biogas facility (Figure 2).  During this fermentation step in a pre-treatment tank, excess nitrogen is biologically converted into ammonia/ammonium and captured through a physical process involving volatilization and condensation of the liquid portion of the digestate.

 

Typical DUCTOR facility layout
Figure 2. Typical DUCTOR facility layout

We ran a demonstration biogas facility with these two steps in Tuorla, Finland for 2000 hours using 100% poultry litter as fermenter feedstock without experiencing ammonia inhibition of the methanogenesis process. While the control, a single-stage traditional digester, showed increased buildup of toxic ammonia, the fermented material coming out of the first stage of the DUCTOR process (having ~50-60% of its nitrogen volatilized and removed) exhibited uniform levels of nitrogen below the inhibition threshold (Figure 3). This allowed a stable and efficient digestion by the methanogenic microbial community in the second stage digester. The fermentation step effectively eliminates the need for co-digestion of poultry manures with other higher C/N ratio substrates.

Figure 3: Ammonium concentration & Methane quantities in treated and untreated substrates
Figure 3: Ammonium concentration & Methane quantities in treated and untreated substrates

What we have learned?

In addition to solving the problem of ammonia inhibition, DUCTOR’s innovation realizes the separation of valuable recycled nutrients in a manner that can produce additional revenue streams. The result of the fermentation process in the first stage digestion tank is an organically produced non-synthetic ammonia (NH4OH), which is condensed and collected. This ammonia water product can be marketed and sold as an organic fertilizer as it is the result of a completely biological process with no controlled chemical reactions. The non-synthetic ammonia produced comes from the digestion of poultry litter by ammonifying microorganisms in anaerobic conditions. Furthermore, this ammonia water is in a plant available form that can be metered onto fields based on crop demands and thus reduce the amount of excess nitrates leaching into the water table and surrounding watershed.

The solids byproduct that results from the completion of the anaerobic digestion process has a large fraction of phosphorus and potash. This digestate can be dried and pelleted to produce a high-phosphorus soil amendment. While recognizing demand for this product would vary by region based on existing phosphorus levels in the soil, it offers a transportable & storable way to return these valuable elements to the nutrient cycle.

nutrient life cycle

Finally, the importance of gas production as a form of sustainable, renewable energy cannot be understated. With 2/3rds of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions coming from the burning of fossil fuels for energy or electricity generation,1 biogas derived from anaerobic digestion can displace some of those processes and reduce environmental greenhouse gas emissions.2 Currently, there are many state and federal policies focusing on renewable energy credits and low carbon fuel standards to incentivize this displacement.3 With the ability to unlock poultry litter as an additional AD feedstock, biogas facilities can offer greater volumes of biogas production per ton of manure than either dairy or swine.

Future plans

We have several commercial projects that will feature the DUCTOR technology at various stages of development in North America. The demonstration facility at Tuorla has been disassembled and shipped to Mexico where it will be reassembled as part of a larger commercial project there. In cooperation with our Mexican partner, we will demonstrate successful operations under a new set of conditions, including different climate and a new source of poultry litter from different regional growing practices. We further intend to demonstrate the highly efficient water use of the process in a drought-prone area.

Additionally, we have received approval from the North Carolina Utilities Commission for entry into their pilot program for injecting biomethane into North Carolina’s natural gas pipelines. Our first project there is expected to begin construction in Spring 2019 to be completed and operational by early 2020. These projects, and others in development, will bring a very attractive and new manure management option to poultry farmers, while recycling nutrients from the waste stream and returning them to the soil in a measurable and sustainable manner.

Author

Bill Parmentier, Project Development, DUCTOR Americas

bill.parmentier@ductor.com

Additional information

https://www.ductor.com

 

1Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-data

2Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, US Environmental Protection Agency, https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions

3Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that is over 20 times more damaging on the environment than carbon dioxide. Anaerobic digestion stops the release of methane into the environment by capturing it and using it for energy production or transportation fuel.

Federal incentives include the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), Alternative Fuel Excise Tax Credit, & Federal Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit to name a few. Examples of state level incentives include various states Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) as well as California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) or Oregon’s Clean Fuels Standard (CFS).

 

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.

Methodologies for In-situ Characterization of the Impact of Equine Manure Management Practices on Water Quality

Nutrient loading of nitrogen and phosphorus in runoff and water leachate threatens Florida’s environmental and water resources. Of those nutrients, nitrate (NO3) nitrogen is highly soluble and not strongly bound to soils. Consequently, nitrate is highly mobile and subject to leaching losses when both nitrate content and water movement are high.

Due to Florida’s sandy soils and humid subtropical climate, nitrate losses from leaching and runoff are high and creates concerns for animal waste handling1. Mitigating nutrient loading to ground and surface waters through proper management of horse manure and stall waste can help protect water quality. However, information regarding the relationship between on-farm equine manure management practices and water quality remains limited.

What did we do

The objective of this study was to address waste management challenges on Florida equine operations by developing methodologies for in-situ characterization of nutrient profile of pore and surface water runoff from stockpiled equine waste and waste that has been effectively composted. Two small-scale horse properties with 2-8 horses managed on 4-9 acres, and 1 larger scale operation with up to 70 horses managed on 300+ acres located within the Rainbow Springs Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) were enlisted for the project. Lysimeters (soils enclosed in suitable containers and exposed to natural surroundings to capture leachates) were constructed of PVC and non-woven filter fabric suspended between a 4” and 2” PVC reducer with a total length of 24” and deployed 6” below ground2 (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Design details and image of lysimeters used for leachate collection. Each lysimeter was equipped with silicone tubing for effluent collection.
Figure 1. Design details and image of lysimeters used for leachate collection. Each lysimeter was equipped with silicone tubing for effluent collection.


One hole was drilled between the 4” and 2” PVC reducer to insert the sampling lines to the bottom well of the lysimeter and secured with duct tape. For each lysimeter installation, the top 6” of the soil profile was removed using a 6” diameter core ring to ensure the soil profile was undisturbed. The remaining 6”-12” depth of soil was composited and repacked into the lysimeter container, layer by layer. An auger was used to achieve a total depth of 30 inches from the surface to secure the lysimeter in the ground. Following lysimeter installation, the top 6” of intact soil was replaced above the lysimeter and all lines were buried 6” in the soil and channeled to one central location. The collection trenches were fabricated from vinyl gutter material filled with river rock (pre-rinsed for removal of iron and sediment) and installed up and downgradient at stockpile systems and at the opening of each compost bin. A 5-gallon bucket attached to the downgradient gutter served as the water collection reservoir (Figure 2).

three bin compost structure
Figure 2a) Three bin manure compost structure
Manure stockpile structure
Figure 2b) Manure stockpile structure

Figure 2. Placement of runoff collection trenches within the (a) compost and (b) stockpile manure bin structures. The trenches intercept any runoff during heavy rainfall and drain into a 5-gallon bucket. Once the bilge pump below the bucket is adequately submerged, the water is evacuated to the secondary collection bucket for sampling.

Figure 3. Arrangement of the eight peristaltic pumps on a hand truck dolly for ease of transport. The pumps with connected clear silicone tubing are attached to the lysimeter collection line for leachate collection.
Figure 3. Arrangement of the eight peristaltic pumps on a hand truck dolly for ease of transport. The pumps with connected clear silicone tubing are attached to the lysimeter collection line for leachate collection.

For the lysimeter leachate sampling, eight peristaltic pumps were arranged in an array of 4 pumps wired together and controlled by an on/off switch connected to a sampling tube of the lysimeter (Figure 3).
A grid of 4-5 lysimeters were placed under each compost bin for collection and compositing of samples. The lysimeters for the stockpile were arranged in a 3×3 grid across the stockpile bin with each row (3 lysimeters) representing a composited sample (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Pre-installation and arrangement (3x3) of the lysimeters within the manure stockpile structure.
Figure 4. Pre-installation and arrangement (3×3) of the lysimeters within the manure stockpile structure.

The lysimeters were purged with deionized water after two weeks or after a heavy rainfall event prior to the first sample collection.  For water runoff collection, a 12 volt (500gph) automatic bilge pump, powered by a marine battery, was used to pump water from the collection bucket to a 5-gallon sampling bucket. A 10% subsample was collected with the remaining 90% expelled to the ground surface using a 2-way restricted-flow Y connector. Runoff samples (collected immediately post rainfall event) and leachate samples (collected biweekly) were acidified and stored in scintillation vials at 4oC for nutrient analysis (NO-X, NH4+, TKN, and TP).

Outcome

 The lysimeter and water runoff collection trench construction provide a cost-effective, easily deployed system for characterizing nutrient loading in leachate and surface runoff from manure storage and composting sites. The system has been successful in collecting samples for nutrient analysis, however, a few challenges have also been identified. (1) The runoff system requires periodic maintenance, primarily cleaning (re-rinsing) the gutter and river rock to remove any material lying above the trench. (2) Also, the Y connectors require calibration every month to remove leaf litter and other debris to allow water flow through the valves to ensure a 10% subsample is collected. (3) Suspended materials (fine soil or organic matter) have been observed in lysimeter leachate samples and runoff collection trenches. (4) A subset of lysimeter samples have emitted a sulfur odor when adverse weather conditions or other events delay sampling beyond the target 2-week interval.

Future plans

To assess potential nitrate losses due to sample retention time, the lysimeter effluent will be sampled at specific intervals (day 1, day 3, day 6, day 9, day 14) during a period of no rainfall. These measurements should help determine the optimal time interval for sample collection for analysis of nitrate levels.  Additionally, runoff samples are being collected for analysis of fecal coliform and E. coli. The methodologies employed in this field level study represent an important step towards an improved understanding of the impact of manure management BMPs on water quality.

Corresponding author, title, and affiliation

Agustin Francisco, Graduate Student, University of Florida

Corresponding author email

afran@ufl.edu

Other authors

Carissa Wickens, State Extension Horse Specialist, University of Florida Mark Clark, Wetland Ecologist, University of Florida; Caitlin Bainum, Extension Agent, Florida Cooperative Extension, Marion County, Ocala, Florida; Megan Mann, Extension Agent, Florida Cooperative Extension, Lake County, Tavares, FL

Additional information

1FDEP. 2013. Small Scale Horse Operations: Best Management Practices for water resource protection in Florida.

2Bergstrom, L. 1990. Use of lysimeters to estimate leaching of pesticides in agriculture soils. J. Environmental Pollution. 67:325-347

Additional information regarding this project is available by contacting Carissa Wickens (cwickens@ufl.edu), or Agustin Francisco (afran@ufl.edu).

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) for funding support, the farm site cooperators Dave and Deb Kane, Jim and Merry Lee Bain, and Eli and Jeff McGuire. We would also like to thank Carol Vasco, Ellen Rankins, Ana Margarita Arias, Anastasia Reif for their assistance with site installation and data collection.

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.

The Michigan EnviroImpact Tool: A Supporting Tool to Help Farmers in Forecasting Manure Nutrient Runoff Risk

The purpose of the MI EnviroImpact Tool is to provide farmers with a daily runoff risk decision support tool that can aid in effectively planning short-term manure and nutrient application. This not only helps keep nutrients on the field and potentially saves money, but it also helps to protect our waterways in Michigan.

Lifecycle of manure nutrients
Figure 1. Livestock operations are a readily available source of manure nutrients. With effective nutrient application, farmers might be able to reduce the use of commercial fertilizers and save money.
With the MI EnviroImpact tool, farmers are able to plan for effective short-term manure application.
Figure 2. With the MI EnviroImpact tool, farmers are able to plan for effective short-term manure application.

What did we do?

Farmer interest groups were pulled together for initial piloting and testing of the MI EnviroImpact tool to hear what worked and what needed improvement. The goal was to make this a very user-friendly tool that everyone could use. Additionally, educational and outreach materials were created (factsheet, postcard, YouTube videos, and presentations) to help get the word out about this decision support tool. The ultimate goal of the MI EnviroImpact tool is for use as a decision support tool for short-term manure and nutrient application. The tool derives the runoff risk forecast from real-time precipitation and temperature forecasts. This information is then combined with snow melt, soil moisture and temperature, and other landscape characteristics  to forecast times when the risk of runoff will be higher. The MI EnviroImpact tool is applicable in all seasons and has a winter mode for times when the average daily snow depth is greater than 1 inch or the 3-day average soil temperature (top 2 inches) is below freezing.

The MI EnviroImpact tool displaying both winter and non-winter modes of daily runoff risk.
Figure 3. The MI EnviroImpact tool displaying both winter and non-winter modes of daily runoff risk.

What did we learn?

Through our work with the MI EnviroImpact Tool and those that helped to develop this tool, we were able to spread awareness of this user-friendly tool, so that more farmers would be likely to use it to help in nutrient application planning. Furthermore, those outside of the farming community have been very encouraged to see that agriculture is continuing to take steps in being environmentally friendly. Additionally, others have viewed this tool as a resource outside of farmers, showing that the MI EnviroImpact Tool has broader implications than just agriculture.

Future Plans

Future plans include continuing education about the MI EnviroImpact Tool as well as continued distribution of educational materials to help spread awareness of the tool itself.

Additional Information

Those who would like to learn more about the MI EnviroImpact Tool can visit the following links:

Acknowledgements

This project was prepared by MSU under award NA14OAR4170070 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce through the Regents of the University of Michigan. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Commerce, or the Regents of the University of Michigan.

MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer, committed to achieving excellence through a diverse workforce and inclusive culture that encourages all people to reach their full potential. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Jeff Dwyer, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing, MI 48824. This information is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned.

Partners and funding sources involved in supporting, developing, and implementing the MI EnviroImpact tool.
Figure 4. Partners and funding sources involved in supporting, developing, and implementing the MI EnviroImpact tool.

Project Collaborators:

Heather A. Triezenberg, Ph.D.
Extension Specialist and Program Leader, Michigan Sea Grant
Michigan State University Extension
Community, Food and Environment Institute
Fisheries and Wildlife Department
Meaghan Gass
Sea Grant Extension Educator
Michigan State University Extension

Jason Piwarski
GIS Specialist
Michigan State University
Institute of Water Research

Dustin Goering
Senior Hydrologist
North Central River Forecast Center
NOAA National Weather Service

Cindy Hudson
Communications Manager, Michigan Sea Grant
Community, Food & Environment Institute
Michigan State University Extension

Jeremiah Asher
Assistant Director
Institute of Water Research
Michigan State University

Kraig Ehm
Multimedia Producer
ANR Communications and Marketing
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Michigan State University

Luke E. Reese
PhD, Associate Professor
Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering
Michigan State University

Marilyn L. Thelen
Associate Director, Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute
Michigan State University Extension

Todd Marsee
Senior Graphic Designer
Michigan Sea Grant
University of Michigan

Mindy Tape
Manager
ANR Communications & Marketing
Michigan State University Extension

 

 

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.

Regional Runoff Risk Tools for Nutrient Reduction in Great Lakes States

One method to reduce the impacts of excess nutrients leaving agricultural fields and degrading water quality across the Nation is to ensure nutrients are not applied right before a runoff event could occur.  Generally nutrient management approaches, including the 4-Rs (“right” timing, rate, placement, and source), include some discussion about the “right time” for nutrient applications, however that information is static guidance usually centered on the timing of crop needs.  What has been missing, and what will be discussed in this talk, will be the development and introduction to runoff risk decision support tools focused on providing farmers and producers real-time guidance on when to not apply nutrients in the next week to 10 days due to the risk of runoff capable of transporting those nutrients off their fields.  The voluntary adoption and use of runoff risk in short-term field management decisions could provide both environmental and economic benefits.

In response to the need for real-time nutrient application guidance and a request from states in the Great Lakes region, the National Weather Service (NWS) North Central River Forecast Center (NCRFC) has helped develop these runoff risk tools in collaboration with multiple state agencies and universities and with support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).  There are currently four active runoff risk tools in the Great Lakes region: Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.  It is possible to develop similar tools for Illinois, Indiana, and New York if willing state partners are identified.  

What did we do?

Studies have shown that a few large runoff events per year contribute a majority of the annual load leaving fields.  In addition applications generally occur during the riskiest times of year for runoff (fall through spring) when fields experience the least vegetative cover and soils are vulnerable.  Knowing this information, real-time NWS weather and hydrologic models were evaluated to identify conditions that correlated with runoff observed at edge-of-field (EOF) locations.  The runoff risk algorithm identifies daily runoff events and stratifies the events by magnitude respective to each grid cell’s historical behavior.  The events are then classified into risk categories for the farmers and producers. In general, high risk events are larger magnitude events that don’t happen as often and also have a higher accuracy rate.  On the other end, low risk events are smaller magnitude events that have a higher chance of being a false alarm yet are also less likely to be associated with significant nutrient loss.

NWS models are run twice daily and simulate soil temperature, soil moisture, runoff, and snowpack conditions continuously.  The runoff risk algorithm is applied against the model output to produce runoff risk guidance which is sent to the state partners.  Each state has a working group and a lead agency or organization that manages the effort to produce and maintain the runoff risk websites as well as promote the tools and educate the users on how to interpret and use the guidance.  

What have we learned?

At this point there are four regional runoff risk tools available.  Response has been positive from both state agencies and when farming groups are asked about the runoff risk concept during post-presentation surveys and small focus groups.  There is a strong desire from the farming community to make the best decision during stressful times of the year when farming schedules and the weather are often in conflict.  

At this point, it is universally accepted among the runoff risk collaborators that there is a need to provide free, easily obtainable forecast guidance to the farming community so they can make the best nutrient application decisions for their operations and the environment.

Runoff risk tools are strictly for decision support and not meant to be a regulatory tool in nature.  This is due to the limitations in hydrologic models, weather forecasting, spatial scale issues, and that the tools have no way of incorporating farmer specific practices into the risk calculations.  Although model improvements will occur in the future, ensuring users understand the limitations but also the benefits they can provide are important components in the States’ outreach and education functions.  

Future Plans

Based on feedback from the states employing runoff tools, there is a second round of enhancement planned for the runoff risk algorithm in the summer of 2019.  Other improvements from the states’ perspective deal with updating webpages and building on and enhancing push notification capabilities such as text message and email alerts.

The next major step forward begins in spring 2019 with the start of version 3 runoff risk.  This 2-year development will transition runoff risk guidance from the current model over to the new NWS National Water Model (NWM).  The NWM framework will allow finer resolution guidance (1km or smaller) for numerous models runs per day all with full operational support.  Moving to the NWM also allows continuous improvement and future collaboration opportunities with universities to improve the underlying WRF-Hydro model as well as runoff risk and other derived decision support guidance.

Authors

Dustin Goering, Senior Hydrologist, North Central River Forecast Center, National Weather Service
Andrea Thorstensen, Hydrologist, North Central River Forecast Center, National Weather Service

Corresponding Author email
dustin.goering@noaa.gov

Additional Information

For further information on runoff risk background please visit this page: https://vlab.ncep.noaa.gov/web/noaa-runoff-risk/runoff-risk-background  (Still under construction)

 

To visit the state tools see the following links:

    

Michigan  

Minnesota 

Ohio  

Wisconsin  

Acknowledgements

There are many individuals across a wide spectrum of agencies, industry, and universities that have been instrumental in the development of runoff risk to this point.

Support for the development of runoff risk across the Great Lakes and the upcoming version 3 runoff risk from the National Water Model has been provided by multi-year grants from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

 

 

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.

Impact of Biochar on Nitrogen Cycling: Impact of Oxidation and Application to Filter Strips

Biochar has been shown to have the ability to affect nitrogen cycling in soils. In this study, we investigated the impact of adding biochar to filter strip plots to understand the impact on nitrogen leaching, particularly in the form of nitrate. In addition, we examined additions of biochar to soil columns to determine the mechanism for reductions in leaching and to assess the impacts to nitrous oxide emissions.  

What did we do?

grass
Figure 1: Filter strip plots with vegetation receiving silage runoff with collection of surface and subsurface water samples

We conducted three studies to investigate the impact of biochar to nitrogen cycling. First, we developed filter strip plots where we added biochar to the soil matrix in three of six plots. We then applied bunker silage storage runoff ( containing nitrogen) to the plots and determined the forms and quantities of nitrogen leaching through the soil profile. Second, we oxidized biochar and completed sorption studies to determine if oxidation of biochar plays a role in nitrate sorption. Third, we conducted soil column experiments to determine if biochar impacted mineralization rates, nitrification and/or denitrification in soil systems when synthetic wastewater containing nitrogen was applied.

What have we learned?

We have found that biochar does impact nitrogen leaching. When added to filter strip plots, it reduced total nitrogen and nitrate leaching. In addition, oxidation of biochar was found to have an impact to nitrate sorption. Finally, when biochar is applied to soil columns it not only reduces nitrate leaching but also reduces nitrous oxide emissions.

Future plans

We plan to further investigate biochar applications to reduce nitrogen losses to the environment.

Authors

Rebecca A. Larson, Associate Professor, Biological Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, rebecca.larson@wisc.edu

Joseph Sanford, Biological Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Acknowledgements

This material is based on work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2015-67019-23573 and 2017-67003-26055.

 

 

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.

Nutrient Leaching Under Manure Staging Piles

For many livestock producers, manure storage capacity is limited.  Severe weather events can intensify the manure storage capacity limitations.  One option available to producers is to haul manure to the field and place it in manure staging areas.  This can reduce the manure storage capacity needed at the livestock facility, and reduce manure hauling time in the spring.  Hauling of manure to manure staging areas is typically done when convenient, with little thought about the effect of timing and nutrient loss.  This study examined nutrient loss from manure staging piles placed in November, January, and March over a course of five years.

What Did We Do?

This study compared manure staging areas with manure placed at three different times (November, January, and March) and two different bedding materials (straw, no straw).  

For each placement event (November, January, March) manure from the tie stall barn (straw bedding) and the butterfly sheds (sand bedding) at the Utah State University Caine Dairy was hauled to Cache Junction, UT and placed in manure staging piles.  Composite manure samples were collected from each pile (manure type) at the time of placement, and at removal each year (in the fall after crop harvest) for five years. Manure samples were analyzed for ammonium-nitrogen using Method 12-107-04-1-F on a Lachat Flow Injection Analysis (FIA) analyzer and total N using an Elementar combustion analyzer.  Leachate was collected biweekly by means of zero-tension lysimeters installed under the manure staging areas and analyzed for ammonium-nitrogen using Method 10-107-06-2-O and nitrate-nitrogen using Method 10-107-04-1-R on a Lachat FIA analyzer. Soil samples were taken to a depth of 90 cm and analyzed for nitrate-nitrogen using Method 12-107-04-1-F on a Lachat FIA analyzer.

What Have We Learned?

Figure 1. Total N (mg) in leachate/lysimeter under manure staging piles.
Figure 1. Total N (mg) in leachate/lysimeter under manure staging piles.

Significant leachate was produced under the manure staging piles placed during the winter months, with the manure with no straw (sand bedding) producing more leachate than the manure with straw (straw bedding).  Manure piles placed in November produced less leachate and lost less total N than those placed in January and March (Figure 1). Due to Utah’s dry climate, this is most likely due to drying of the manure in the late fall months, which enabled the manure to absorb more moisture during the winter months. Manure piles placed in January produced the most leachate and exhibited more total N loss (Figure 2).

Difference in manure Total N% from time of placement to removal for land application.
Figure 2.  Difference in manure Total N% from time of placement to removal for land application.

The snow and snow melt most likely contributed to the large amount of leachate and nitrogen loss observed under the January piles.

Future Plans

The results of this study indicate that straw bedding helps retain the nitrogen in the manure and reduce nitrogen loss from manure placed in manure staging piles.  In addition, in Utah’s dry climate, the timing of manure staging pile placement does affect nutrient loss with placement in late November minimizing nutrient leaching.  This information will be presented to producers, NRCS, DWQ, and other ag professionals.

Authors

Rhonda Miller, Ph.D.; Agricultural Systems Technology and Education Dept.; Utah State University, rhonda.miller@usu.edu

Jennifer Long; Agricultural Systems Technology and Education Dept.; Utah State University

Additional Information

Website:  http://agwastemanagement.usu.edu

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge support from Utah State University Experiment Station.

 

 

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.

Manure Management Technology Selection Guidance

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Purpose

Manure is an inevitable by-product of livestock production. Traditionally, manure has been land applied for the nutrient value in crop production and improved soil quality.With livestock operations getting larger and, in many cases, concentrating in certain areas of the country, it is becoming more difficult to balance manure applications to plant uptake needs. In many places, this imbalance has led to over-application of nutrients with increased potential for surface water, ground water and air quality impairments. No two livestock operations are identical and manure management technologies are generally quite expensive, so it is important to choose the right technology for a specific livestock operation. Information is provided to assist planners and landowners in selecting the right technology to appropriately address the associated manure management concerns.

What did we do?

As with developing a good conservation plan, knowledge of manure management technologies can help landowners and operators best address resource concerns related to animal manure management. There are so many things to consider when looking at selecting various manure treatment technologies to make sure that it will function properly within an operation. From a technology standpoint, users must understand the different applications related to physical, chemical, and biological unit processes which can greatly assist an operator in choosing the most appropriate technology. By having a good understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of these technologies, better decisions can be made to address the manure-related resource concerns and help landowners:

• Install conservation practices to address and avoid soil erosion, water and air quality issues.

• In the use of innovative technologies that will reduce excess manure volume and nutrients and provide value-added products.

• In the use of cover crops and rotational cropping systems to uptake nutrients at a rate more closely related to those from applied animal manures.

• In the use of local manure to provide nutrients for locally grown crops and, when possible, discourage the importation of externally produced feed products.

• When excess manure can no longer be applied to local land, to select options that make feasible the transport of manure nutrients to regions where nutrients are needed.

• Better understand the benefits and limitations of the various manure management technologies.

Picture of holding tank

Complete-Mix Anaerobic Digester – option to reduce odors and pathogens; potential energy production

Picture of mechanical equipment

Gasification (pyrolysis) system – for reduced odors; pathogen destruction; volume reduction; potential energy production.

Picture of field

Windrow composting – reduce pathogens; volume reduction

Picture of Flottweg separation technology

Centrifuge separation system – multiple material streams; potential nutrient
partitioning.

What have we learned?

• There are several options for addressing manure distribution and application management issues. There is no silver bullet.

• Each livestock operation will need to be evaluated separately, because there is no single alternative which will address all manure management issues and concerns.

• Option selections are dependent on a number of factors such as: landowner objectives, manure consistency, land availability, nutrient loads, and available markets.

• Several alternatives may need to be combined to meet the desired outcome.

• Soil erosion, water and air quality concerns also need to be addressed when dealing with manure management issues.

• Most options require significant financial investment.

Future Plans

Work with technology providers and others to further evaluate technologies and update information as necessary. Incorporate findings into NRCS handbooks and fact sheets for use by staff and landowners in selecting the best technology for particular livestock operations.

Corresponding author, title, and affiliation

Jeffrey P. Porter, P.E.; National Animal Manure and Nutrient Management Team Leader USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service

Corresponding author email

jeffrey.porter@gnb.usda.gov

Other authors

Darren Hickman, P.E., National Geospatial Center of Excellence Director USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service; John Davis, National Nutrient Management Specialist USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, retired

Additional information

References

USDA-NRCS Handbooks – Title 210, Part 651 – Agricultural Waste Management Field Handbook

USDA-NRCS Handbooks – Title 210, Part 637 – Environmental Engineering, Chapter 4 – Solid-liquid Separation Alternatives for Manure Handling and Treatment (soon to be published)

Webinars

Evaluation of Manure Management Systems – http://www.conservationwebinars.net/webinars/evaluation-of-manure-management-systems/?searchterm=animal waste

Use of Solid-Liquid Separation Alternatives for Manure Handling and Treatment – http://www.conservationwebinars.net/webinars/use-of-solid-liquid-separation-alternatives-for-manure-handling-and-treatment/?searchterm=animal waste

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. 2017. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Cary, NC. April 18-21, 2017. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

EPA’s Nutrient Recycling Challenge


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Purpose 

Come to this session to learn about the Nutrient Recycling Challenge and meet some of the involved partners and experts, as well as some innovators who are competing to develop nutrient recovery technologies that meet the needs of pork and dairy farmers. This session will begin with an overview of the challenge. Next, innovators will provide snapshot presentations about the technology ideas they are working on, followed by live feedback/Q&A sessions on each technology where we can harness the buzzing brainpower at Waste to Worth. Finally, we will move into a “workshop” designed to support innovators participating in the Nutrient Recycling Challenge as they refine their designs before they build prototypes.

What did we do?

Background on the Nutrient Recycling Challenge

At Waste to Worth 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hosted a brainstorm session about developing technologies that livestock farmers want to help manage manure nutrients. That session sowed the seeds for the Nutrient Recycling Challenge—a global competition to find affordable and effective nutrient recovery technologies that create valuable products farmers can use, transport, or sell to where nutrients are in demand. Pork and dairy producers, USDA, and environmental and scientific experts saw the tremendous opportunity to generate environmental and economic benefits, and partnered with EPA to launch the challenge in November 2015 (www.nutrientrecyclingchallenge.org).

What have we learned? 

There is a tremendous opportunity to generate environmental and economic benefits from manure by-products, but further innovation is needed to develop more effective and affordable technologies that can extract nutrients and create products that farmers can use, transport, or sell more easily to where nutrients are in demand.

In the Nutrient Recycling Challenge, innovators have proposed a range of technology systems to recover nitrogen and phosphorus from dairy and swine manure, including physical, chemical, biological, and thermal treatment systems. Some such systems may also be compatible with manure-to-energy technologies, such as anaerobic digesters. Farms of all sizes are interested in nutrient recovery, and there is demand for diverse types of technologies due to a diversity in end users. To improve the adoptability of nutrient recovery systems, it is critical that innovators are mindful of the affordability of technologies, and work to lower capital and operations and maintenance costs, and improve the potential for returns on investment. A key factor for offsetting the costs of a technology and improving its marketability will be in its ability to generate valuable nutrient-containing products that are competitive in the market.

Future Plans 

The challenge has four phases, in which innovators are turning concepts into designs, and eventually to pilot these working technologies on livestock farms. Thirty-four innovator teams whose concepts were selected from Phase I are refining technology designs in Phase II.  Design prototypes will be built in Phase III. This workshop is designed to help innovators maximize their potential for developing nutrient recovery technologies that meet farmer needs.

Corresponding author, title, and affiliation 

Joseph Ziobro, Physical Scientist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Hema Subramanian, Environmental Protection Specialist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Corresponding author email 

ziobro.joseph@epa.gov; subramanian.hema@epa.gov

Session Agenda

  1. Overview of the Nutrient Recycling Challenge, Hema Subramanian and Joseph Ziobro of EPA
  2. Nutrient Recycling Challenge Partner Introductions, Nutrient Recycling Challenge Partners (including National Milk Producers Federation, Newtrient, Smithfield Foods, U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Energy, and Water Environment & Reuse Foundation)
  3. Showcase of Innovators’ Technology Ideas
    • Decanter Centrifuge and Struvite Recovery for Manure Nutrient Management, Hiroko Yoshida
    • Manure Solids Separation BioFertilizer Produccion Drinking Water Efluente, Aicardo Roa Espinosa
    • Nutrient Recovery from Anaerobic Digestates, Rakesh Govind
    • Organic Waste Digestion and Nutrient Recycling, Steven Dvorak
    • Manure Treatment with the Black Solder Fly, Simon Gregg
  4. Nutrient Recycling Challenge Workshop for Innovators
    • Developing technologies: From concept to pilot (to full-scale), Matias Vanotti
    • Waste Systems Overview for Dairy and Swine and Innovative Technologies: What Steps Should be Taken (Lessons Learned), Jeff Porter

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. 2017. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Cary, NC. April 18-21, 2017. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Digester Effluent’s Agronomic and Odor Emission Potential: A Swine Case Study


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Purpose

This on-farm study looked at the full-scale treatment effects of anaerobic digestion on the composition of manure effluent from an agronomic and air quality perspective.  The goal was to improve our understanding of the role that anaerobic digestion may play in managing manure as a fertilizer and in reducing odor and other air emissions.

What did we do?

Manure slurry and digester effluent samples were collected from a swine production operation in eastern Nebraska that utilizes a complete-mix anaerobic digester to treat the manure and produce biogas for generating electricity.  Samples were collected from three sites in the manure stream (below-barn pit, digester outlet, and holding pond) over a 15-month period to observe changes in manure and head-space gas composition as a result of manure treatment and over time.  Manure analyses included common agronomic measures (N-P-K, pH, micronutrients, etc.) and measures of biological decomposition potential (i.e. chemical oxygen demand, volatile solids content).  Gases released by manure samples (‘head-space air’) were analyzed for odor precursors (i.e. volatile fatty acids, aromatic compounds, and ammonia).

Swine production  operation in eastern Nebraska where manure slurry and digester effluent samples were collected.

The manure nutrient analyses were then used to determine nitrogen-based application rates for a later comparison of fertilizing dryland corn using i) undigested manure from deep pits; ii) digester effluent; iii) digested manure held in earthen storage; and iv) anhydrous ammonia (control).  Material for each treatment was knifed into duplicated test strips using commercial injection equipment.  Each strip was 30 feet wide (twelve 30″ rows) x 360 feet long for an area of 1/4 acre.  The yield for each strip was obtained at harvest using data from the combine’s yield monitoring system.

What have we learned?

A trend was observed for ammonia nitrogen (NH3-N) content of the digester effluent to be greater than in the raw manure [influent], but then NH3-N dropped substantially during subsequent storage in the earthen basin.  These observations are consistent with anticipated ammonia generation during digestion (as organic nitrogen is converted to aqueous ammonia ) followed by loss of ammonia to the atmosphere as the treated manure is stored in an open structure.  When considering effects on fertilizer value, the study provided supporting evidence that a digester has very little direct effect on total nitrogen content, but tends to increase NH3-N content.  Similar corn yields (averaging 156 to 163 Bu/Ac) were obtained for each treatment.   Our conclusion was that digesters increase the availability of nitrogen in manure for plant growth, which unfortunately may also increase losses of this valuable plant nutrient via ammonia volatilization.

Volatile solids (or total organic matter) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) contents in stored digester effluent showed considerable decreases from undigested manure in the below-barn pit.  Loss of volatile solids and COD as the manure moved through the digester and during storage in the basin is consistent with consumption of organic matter and production of methane and other biogases.  Another clear trend was for odorous compounds to decrease in concentration as the manure slurry moved through the digester and as the effluent was subsequently stored in the basin.  When the digester was operating as designed, chemical oxygen demand was reduced by an average of 45%, odorous volatile fatty acids were reduced by an average of 66%, and ammonia increased by an average of 58%.

Future Plans

None at this time

Corresponding author email

rstowell2@unl.edu

Other authors

Dan Miller, USDA-ARS and Crystal Powers, UNL

Additional information

Related research report (National Pork Board #08-259) at http://research.pork.org/Results/ResearchDetail.aspx?id=1578.

Acknowledgements

Funding for this work was provided by the National Pork Board (#08-259) and the Nebraska Environmental Trust. Appreciation acknowledged for in-kind efforts of the pork producer and owner of O’Lean Energy, LLC.

Evaluation of a Solid-Liquid Manure Separation Barn

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Purpose

This paper documents an on-going evaluation of an existing, full-scale solid/liquid separator barn for the potential of improved manure nutrient conservation and management, water recycling, including cost and handling implications. The barn has V-shaped pit floor to drain liquid manure, and automated scrapers to collect solid manure frequently. The finishing barn was built to improve indoor air quality, and improve manure handling and land application of nutrients.

What did we do?

  1. Collected monthly manure samples (both solid and liquid manure samples) at the commercial barn starting in September, 2016. The collected samples were analyzed for important manure nutrients, pH, and moisture content.
  2. Monitored daily liquid manure production by measuring the water level fluctuation in the receiving pit, using a liquid pressure data logger (U20L-04, HOBO Water Level, Onset Computer Corporation, Bourne, MA). A new pressure gauge with two sensors was then added to allow simultaneous measurement of atmospheric pressure to improve accuracy.
  3. Monitored accumulation of solid manure, by measuring dimensions of the manure pile during each sampling event. A camera was purchased and installed at the storage shed to take hourly photos of the storage pile.
  4. Conducted filtration pilot tests using water and salty water and a bench-scale cross-flow treatment system, capable of various filtration options including reverse osmosis.
  5. Conducted settling/pre-treatment tests of the liquid manure samples, by storing liquid manure in individual jars and periodically characterizing settling of manure solids and duration needed before the high-pressure filtration.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).

What have we learned?

Battery-operated gauges were able to closely monitor the water level, liquid manure flow, and operation of the pump, and the dual-sensor gauge was much easier in data analysis and downloading. The daily liquid manure level fluctuated significantly during the first six months of monitoring, which could be due to differences in animal size and occurrence of barn washing. Solid manure samples collected in the current project had higher moisture contents than the four samples collected in 2014, meaning the solid/liquid separation barn was not as effective in separating solids and liquids as in 2014.  But, the settling tests suggest a settling basin could be designed to pre-treat the liquid manure stream before a water extraction process.

Figure 2. Daily liquid manure separated by the solid/liquid separation barn

Future Plan

A year’s worth of data will be collected, and manure nutrient flows of the solid and liquid portions will be quantified. The team will also characterize and compare the barn and management costs (relative to a typical deep-pit barn), practicality, and costs of the use of filtration and reverse osmosis. Will provide pork producers information on potential for the solid/liquid separation barn and filtration process to improve nutrient management, land application, and water conservation.

Corresponding author, title, and affiliation

Teng Lim, Associate Professor, Agricultural Systems Management, University of Missouri

limt@missouri.edu

Other authors

Joshua Brown, Graduate Research Assistant; and Joseph M. Zulovich, Assistant Professor; Agricultural Systems Management, University of Missouri.

Additional information

Teng Lim, limt@missouri.edu

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the National Pork Board and University of Missouri Extension for financial support, and the farm management team for their help with the project.