Animal manures contain nutrients [primarily nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P)] and organic material that are beneficial to crops. Unfortunately, for economic and logistics reasons, liquid dairy and swine manure tends to be applied to soils near where it is generated. Over time, P concentrations in soils where dairy manure is applied builds up, often in excess of crop demands. We previously (Church et al., 2016, 2017) and have subsequently built, a full-scale version of a MAnure PHosphorus EXtraction (MAPHEX) System capable of removing greater than 90 percent of the P from manures. While originally designed to remove phosphorus, we have also shown that the MAPHEX System was also capable of removing odor and microbes, and of concentrating alkalinity into a solid, economically transported form. We have also lowered daily operating costs by testing the effect of lower-cost chemicals as alternatives to ferric sulfate, and by showing that the diatomaceous earth (DE) filtering material can be recycled and reused. We are currently building a system capable of treating over 100,000 gallons of Dairy Manure per day. This system is planned to be operational for demonstrating starting summer 2022.
Swine and dairy manures are typically in slurry form and contain nutrients [primarily nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P)] and organic material that are beneficial to crops. Unfortunately, the concentrations of nutrients in both manures are too low to make transportation of bulk manures over large distances economically viable. Furthermore, since it must be transported in tanks, that transportation is inconvenient as well. Therefore, these manures tend to be applied to soils near where they are generated, and, over time, P concentrations in soils increase to the point that soil P concentrations are often in excess of crop demands. Furthermore, because of the implication that P runoff from agricultural operations plays an important role in eutrophication of streams and other water bodies, farmers are experiencing increasing pressures and regulation to not apply animal manures to those soils.
We previously reported on an invention that 1) is designed to be a solution to the P overloading that happens when unnecessary P is added to agricultural soils, 2) is scalable such that it can be used as a mobile system, and 3) has shown to be capable of removing greater than 90 percent of the P from a wide range of dairy manures, while retaining greater than 90% of the N in the final effluent for beneficial use by the farmer.
What Did We Do?
We subsequently built a full-scale version of a MAnure PHosphorus EXtraction (MAPHEX) System capable of removing greater than 90 percent of the P from manures and have tested it on dairy manures. We also focused our efforts on lowering the daily operating costs of the system by developing a method to recover and reuse the diatomaceous earth used in the final filtration step, and testing alternative, lower cost chemicals that can be used in the chemical treatment step. We also performed pilot-scale tests on swine manures.
What Have We Learned?
The full-scale MAPHEX System removed greater than 90% of P from a wide variety of dairy manures, while leaving greater than 90% of the N in the final effluent to be used beneficially to fertigate crops. The System was also shown to recover and concentrate alkalinity into a solid form on a farm that used greater amounts of lime during manure handling, remove 50% of the odor from dairy manure and to remove greater than 80% of Total coliforms and E. Coli. Furthermore, the System has not shown to alter the pH of the final effluent respective to raw manures as other treatment technologies can. We have lowered daily operating costs by testing the effect of lower-cost chemicals as alternatives to ferric sulfate, and by showing that the diatomaceous earth (DE) filtering material can be recycled and reused.
In pilot-scale swine testing, we found that the MAPHEX System can remove greater than 96% of the phosphorus in swine manures. This essentially P free effluent can be beneficially used for fertigation without further loading the receiving soils with P. Scaling up the pilot-scale testing has the potential to reduce swine manure storage volumes to allow for mitigation of overflow problems during large storms. Furthermore, the pilot-scale study suggests that capital equipment costs and treatment costs for swine manure would be lower than for treating dairy manure.
We are currently building a simplified version of the MAPHEX System that will be capable of treating over 100,000 gallons of dairy manure per day. This system is planned to be operational for demonstrating starting summer 2022. We plan to use this simplified version for demonstration tests, and use the results obtained to model the effects of using MAPHEX technology compared to conventional manure handling practices on two paired watersheds. We also plan to demonstrate the full-scale system on a wide range of swine manures with on-farm testing.
Clinton D. Church, Research Chemist, USDA-ARS University Park, PA
Corresponding author email address
Church, C. D., Hristov, A. N., Bryant, R. B., Kleinman, P. J. A., & Fishel, S. K. (2016). A novel treatment system to remove phosphorus from liquid manure. Applied Engineering in Agriculture, 32: 103 – 112. doi:10.13031/aea.32.10999
Church, C. D., Hristov, A. N., Bryant, R. B., & Kleinman, P. J. A. (2017). Processes and treatment systems for treating high phosphorus containing fluids. US Patent 9,790.110B2.
Church, C. D., Hristov, A. N., Kleinman, P. J. A., Fishel, S. K., Reiner, M. R., & Bryant, R. B. (2018). Versatility of the MAPHEX System in removing phosphorus, odor, microbes, and alkalinity from dairy manures: A four-farm case study. Applied Engineering in Agriculture, 34: 567 – 572. doi:10.13031/aea12632
Church, C. D., Hristov, A., Bryant, R. B., & Kleinman, P. J. A. (2019). Methods for Rejuvenation and Recovery of Filtration Media. USDA Docket Number 129.17. U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 62/548,23
Church, C. D., S. K. Fishel, M. R. Reiner, P. J. A. Kleinman, A. N. Hristov, and R. B. Bryant. 2020. Pilot scale investigation of phosphorus removal from swine manure by the MAnure PHosphorus Extraction (MAPHEX) System. Applied Engineering in Agriculture 36(4): 525–531. doi: 10.13031/aea13698
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