One strategy for dealing with poultry poop is to turn it into biofuel, and now scientists have developed a way to do this by mixing the waste with another environmental scourge, an invasive weed that is affecting agriculture in Africa. They report their approach in ACS' journal Energy & Fuels.
Poultry sludge is sometimes turned into fertilizer, but recent trends in industrialized chicken farming have led to an increase in waste mismanagement and negative environmental impacts, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
Droppings can contain nutrients, hormones, antibiotics and heavy metals and can wash into the soil and surface water. To deal with this problem, scientists have been working on ways to convert the waste into fuel. But alone, poultry droppings don't transform well into biogas, so it's mixed with plant materials such as switch grass.
Samuel O. Dahunsi, Solomon U. Oranusi and colleagues wanted to see if they could combine the chicken waste with Tithonia diversifolia (Mexican sunflower), which was introduced to Africa as an ornamental plant decades ago and has become a major weed threatening agricultural production on the continent.
The researchers developed a process to pre-treat chicken droppings, and then have anaerobic microbes digest the waste and Mexican sunflowers together. Eight kilograms of poultry waste and sunflowers produced more than 3 kg of biogas — more than enough fuel to drive the reaction and have some leftover for other uses such as powering a generator. Also, the researchers say that the residual solids from the process could be applied as fertilizer or soil conditioner.
The authors acknowledge funding from Landmark University.
Tasked with helping Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) turn biogas into a more-refined form of natural gas, the team of Meryl Bloomfield, Heather Newell, K.J. Hafer and Dave Hansen saw that the state was among the nation's leaders in not only cattle population but in manure production.
Using an anaerobic digestion process, the team proposes turning that manure not only into fertilizer for crops but natural gas that NPPD could also use to create electricity that powers farms and rural communities across the state.
"Compared to other renewable energy sources – like wind and solar – biogas is more consistent," said Bloomfield. "Cows are always going to produce manure. You don't have to rely on having a sunny day or a windy day, especially In Nebraska, where wind and solar plants might not be as reliable as in Arizona and California."
According to The Cattle Network, Nebraska ranked second nationally in 2015 with approximately 6.3 million cattle or about seven percent of the U.S. population. One of the biggest uses of the manure produced by the cattle is the production of fertilizer.
The student team worked to develop a method that would allow the production of natural gas and still maintain a viable supply for fertilizer production. But that led to it expanding on its goal by proposing a solution that could be an economic boost to the rural community – a biogas upgrade refinery that would be strategically located near Broken Bow.
The refined natural gas from the Nebraska Biogas Upgrading Refinery would then be piped to NPPD's Canaday Station southeast of Lexington, where it could be used to create electricity.
"It would be centralized to where the cows are," Hansen said. "After designing the plant, we determined we'd need about a quarter of a million head of cattle to achieve the manure supply sufficient to reach the capacity NPPD is looking for.
The natural gas that would be similar to the gas used in homes across the country, Hansen said, except it would be collected as part of a natural process rather than relying on traditional means of extracting the gas – such as fracking or refining fossil fuels.
Newell also said the process would be more beneficial to the ecology.
"In doing this, we're reducing greenhouse gases from the cow manure that sits out and naturally becomes fertilizer," Newell said. "We're reducing the carbon dioxide and creating something useful from it."
Though their proposal isn't guaranteed to be implemented, Bloomfield said thinking about the human impact made this senior capstone experience valuable for the entire team.
"Knowing that it could be even a stepping stone to something for NPPD changed how we approached it," Bloomfield said. "When you're thinking theoretically, you can go a lot of different directions. When you're thinking about how it affects people and their lives, that's when it gets real."
March 11, 2013, Washington, DC – The American Biogas Council (ABC) applauds the introduction of the Biogas Investment Tax Credit Act of 2013 (HR 860), which would provide a 30 percent investment tax credit (ITC) for qualifying biogas technologies.
This bill would add biogas to the list of renewables that already receive a 30 percent federal investment tax credit.
According to ABC executive director Patrick Serfass, projects that inject renewable natural gas into the gas pipeline or use the biogas to power vehicle fleets would benefit from the credit.
“This tax credit will help a dairy farmer who makes biogas from cow manure and then uses it to heat the buildings and power the trucks that deliver the milk,” Serfass said.
“Without it, the farmer may not be able to make that investment,” he continued. “Indeed, the ITC would also facilitate the conversion of food waste to biogas that can be injected into natural gas pipelines.”
While biogas projects that generate electricity are eligible for a production tax credit under Section 45 of the federal tax code, currently no comparable tax incentive exists for the production of biogas when used for purposes other than electricity generation.
Feb. 12, 2013, Arcdale, NC - Matt Davidson has been appointed as the newest Project Manager in Vecoplan LLC's Waste Systems Center of Competency. Located in High Point NC, Vecoplan LLC is a worldwide leader in the design, engineering, manufacturing, installation, and commissioning of turnkey systems that process MSW, other waste streams and raw biomass for use as feedstock in the production of alternative fuels and energy.
Prior to this appointment, Davidson held the position of Product Engineer at Vecoplan. In addition to his tenure with Vecoplan, Davidson worked as a Mechanical Project Engineering Manager at Crowder Construction Company and as a Mechanical Engineering intern with Square D. He earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University in 2007.
Davidson's responsibilities will include coordinating the design and development of large scale, turnkey systems for the processing and production of Alternative Fuels from Biomass and Waste, as well as general Waste Treatment systems. In order to ensure continuous quality control, he will also oversee the manufacture and implementation of his projects once the engineering phase has been completed.
"The rapid growth that we've experienced, especially in the design of large integrated systems, has made it necessary for us to expand both our capabilities and our personnel. We are fortunate to have someone of Matt's caliber and expertise, join our Waste Systems team here at Vecoplan," states Uwe Eschenhorst, VP – Center of Competence/Waste Systems at Vecoplan, LLC
For more information visit www.VecoplanLLC.com, or call 336-861-6070.
February 5, 2013, London, Ont – Growth in the farm and rural biogas sector is steady and inevitable and the 2013 Canadian Biogas Conference is focussing on managing the sector and taking applications to the next step.
Topics covered include:
- Biogas for electricity
- Biogas for Renewable Natural Gas and Biomethane
- Biogas heat use
- Plus much more
Registration for one of either the Canadian Biogas Conference or GRO Summit provides full access to the plenaries and technical sessions of both. Registration for associated events, such as the Technology Tours, dinner or add-on workshops is additional.
For more information, click here.
Sept. 4, 2012 - WelTec BioPower has begun construction of a bio gas plant in Darżyno, Poland, that will be supplied with maize, manure and potato waste.
According to Renewable Energy Magazine, the finished plant will posess four sorage tanks and a 50 cubic metre dosing feeder, to be operated by NEWD. The maize and manure will be supplied by local farmers, while a chip manufacturer will provide the potato waste.
The plant is expected to be completed by summer 2013.
For more on WelTec Power's new biogas plant, please see the article in Renewable Energy Magazine.
Jul. 17, 2012 - In May, Weltec Biopower GmbH started building a biogas plant with an electrical output of 370 kW in Bure in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. The plant‘s entire heat surplus will be used to heat the local training barracks.
The plant site in the Swiss Canton of Jura boasts fertile soil and a lot of agriculture. Therefore, the "Bio.Etique. Energie SA“ plant will mainly process farm manure from the surrounding agricultural establishments and agro-industrial waste from the region, including liquid manure, dung, green waste, and grain waste.
Owing to the composition of the organic resources, the Weltec plant will make use of wet fermentation. This technology, which is common in agricultural biogas plants, is especially suitable for the utilisation of heterogeneous wastes and does not require any additives.
The substrates are loaded into a fermenter of 3,994 cubic metres with the help of a 45 cubic metres solid matter dosing feeder. A gas-tight storage unit with a capacity of 4,078 cubic metres is large enough for storing the digestate.
From November 2012, the Weltec plant will feed in a net electricity production of 3 GWh/year into the power grid, an amount is sufficient to continually supply 900 homes with power. The plant‘s excess heat of 2.6 GWh/year will be used to heat the barracks in Bure, which hosts up to 1,400 trainees.
Apart from the smart extraction of the available heat, Claude Etique was impressed by the overall process concept of the WELTEC premium plants: „Compared to other concepts available on the market, Weltec Biopower is the right choice. The same also applies to the entire project organisation with French-speaking Weltec staff.“
In the future, clearly defined project processes could be decisive for the placement of biogas plant construction orders, as Switzerland, like Germany, decided in 2011 to gradually abandon nuclear energy. However, this will require substantial investments, especially for the development of the power production from renewable energy sources. The goal is to increase the power generation from renewable energies by one third by 2050.
Due to the ongoing availability of the raw material and its positive eco-balance, biogas is considered to have a great potential as an energy source. According to a forecast, the Swiss could cover about 4.5 percent of their power requirements and 5 percent of their heat requirements from this energy source. Moreover, about half a million vehicles in Switzerland could run on biogas for an annual mileage of 15,000 kilometer.
Resources for biogas are bountiful: About 20 million t of liquid manure, dung, organic waste, and crop residue, which are suitable for generating biogas, accumulate in the Swiss agriculture alone. The farm manure used in Bure only 1.5 percent of which are currently used in Switzerland for energy generation purposes has the greatest raw material potential.
In 2011, Weltec Biopower GmbH, one of the first manufacturers of biogas plants, celebrated its 10th anniversary. Weltec is one of the pioneers of the constructors of biogas plants. Based on the modern approach of experienced engineers, the company from Vechta (Lower Saxony) with its expertise of a staff of close to 80, offers complete biogas plants from one source and has developed to a leading constructor of biogas plants in the world.
As the hydrogen sulphide and ammonia compounds contained in biogas corrode unprotected parts, WELTEC builds the digesters from stainless steel. This ensures a long useful life of the plant. The manufacturing depth also guarantees a consistently high standard regardless of the location and ensures an export rate that is far above the industry average.
The plants have a modular structure. Weltec Biopower uses only proven system components and develops most of the technologies along the entire value chain internally: digester technology, mixing technology, control technology, hygienisation systems, and digestate processing solutions originate from the company.
By means of its comprehensive services, Weltec ensures the technical and economic stability of the biogas plants. The CHP service guarantees stable output, the biological supervision ensures continuous monitoring of the relevant parameters, and systematic repowering makes sure that the biogas plant is always up to date. Operators can choose from a range of service packages of different types and scope.
One of the main strengths of the medium-sized enterprise is the ability to deliver individual and flexible solutions – from compact plants to large computer-controlled plants in the megawatt range, waste recycling plants, and biogas parks with gas processing technology.
Now the company has added fueling its trucks from a compressed natural gas fueling station to the mix as well and credit card carrying motorists with vehicles accepting CNG can do the same. READ MORE
Farmers Edge, an independent precision agriculture consulting firm, has been ranked 11th by PROFIT: Your Guide to Business Success in its annual ranking of Canada’s Top 200 Fastest-Growing Companies.
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Iowa Manure Calibration & Distribution Field DayFri Jun 02, 2017 @ 1:00PM - 05:00PM
World Pork Expo 2017Wed Jun 07, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Manure Storage & Handling Safety WorkshopMon Jun 12, 2017 @ 6:00PM - 09:00PM
Anaerobic Digester Operator Training CourseTue Jun 13, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
AgSource Laboratories Ice Cream SocialWed Jun 14, 2017 @ 2:00PM - 04:00PM
Iowa Manure Calibration & Distribution Field DayFri Jun 23, 2017 @ 1:00PM - 05:00PM