Manure Manager

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In the news: Jan/Feb 2010

February 11, 2010  by Manure Manager

Glycerol improves economics of anaerobic digestion
New York Dairy Power Summit held
USDA & U.S. dairy industry announce agreement
Perdue wins industry award for innovation
Two new projects approved by Manure Initiative
Glycerol improves economics of anaerobic digestion
Researchers at the University of Manitoba have identified a strategy to help North American livestock producers improve the economics of using anaerobic digestion to produce energy.

Research conducted at the university has shown the addition of glycerol to swine manure at one per cent of the total volume will double biogas production during anaerobic digestion without compromising the process.

Master’s graduate Oswald Wohlgemut says glycerol is of interest because it’s becoming increasingly available and there are few uses for it.

“What we were attempting to do was to simulate an anaerobic digestion process with swine manure and glycerol,” said Wohlgemut. “Glycerol is basically a sugar alcohol. It can be produced from several different industrial processes such as being a byproduct in the production of biodiesel.


“It’s also of interest because of the anticipated increase in biodiesel production in Manitoba and the expected surplus of glycerol.”

Wohlgemut notes, while anaerobic digestion remained stable throughout the experiment with the addition of glycerol at one per cent of total volume, rates of two and four per cent caused failure of the process.

He says the work suggests farmers throughout North America who use anaerobic digestion to produce energy can use glycerol at low doses to enhance methane production and if glycerol is available locally it can be very viable.

Courtesy of University of Manitoba News

New York Dairy Power Summit held
The U.S. dairy industry, with sponsorship from GE Energy, recently held the New York Dairy Power Summit in Syracuse, N.Y.

The summit brought together experts in dairy production, engineering, environmental science, financing, legislation and policy, and green energy business to accelerate opportunities for U.S. dairy farmers to use cow manure methane biogas to generate reliable, cost-effective renewable electricity.

During the conference, GE Energy showcased its Jenbacher biogas engine technology that utilizes digester methane biogas to generate electricity. The power can be used to support the farm’s onsite power requirements, as well as the regional grid, while helping to improve local air and water quality.

According to the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, the state has 6,200 dairy farms with more than 600,000 dairy cows, but only 10,000 cows are utilized in energy production through the use of 12 methane digesters that generate 1.3 megawatts. Manure from approximately 2,500 cows can produce electrical output of 500kW-enough to power roughly 200 homes.

“The Dairy Power Summit is designed to jumpstart the development of additional digester projects in New York by making a bold commitment to action and establishing an ambitious goal for anaerobic digester biogas-to-energy project development through 2020 and committing to a strategy to reach those targets,” said Roger George, general manager of GE Energy’s gas engine business for North America. “New York’s dairy farmers have an opportunity to tap into a new source of revenue that will simultaneously help the state increase its renewable energy production and lower its greenhouse gas emissions.”

Based on what the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy has learned in New York at the Dairy Power Summit, programs similar to the New York pilot project will be rolled out across the nation.

The dairy industry has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020, which is equivalent to removing 1.25 million passenger cars off the road every year.

USDA & U.S. dairy industry announce agreement
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy have agreed to work jointly in support of the U.S. dairy industry’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent over the next decade.

In the memorandum of understanding (MOU), the USDA and the industry-wide dairy group identified a variety of projects that can help the dairy industry achieve those greenhouse gas reduction goals and increase its financial and environmental sustainability.

Under the agreement, the USDA will take a number of steps to help farmers, including supporting a strategic research plan to help the industry further reduce environmental impacts. Other initiatives would help the industry develop future technologies, advance nutrient management, support renewable energy, and improve energy efficiency.

Potential outcomes of the MOU include accelerating opportunities to adopt livestock manure processing systems that capture methane gas from livestock manure and convert it into electricity, coordinating research information on life cycle assessments, and supporting the industry’s efforts in energy audits, feed management and energy conservation.

The MOU between USDA and the Innovation Center may also help accelerate adoption of methane gas digesters for all sizes of dairy farms, making it easier to connect digesters to electricity grids and help digester operators capture potential carbon offset payments. Additional support from the USDA could include research on how feed mixtures affect methane emissions from cows. Opportunities to reduce so-called enteric emissions have been identified by dairy stakeholders in the Innovation Center’s industry-wide plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Perdue wins industry award for innovation
Perdue recently became the eighth company to receive Poultry magazine’s Jewell award for innovation, and the first to be recognized in the area of environmental leadership.

The award, named for poultry industry pioneer Jesse Jewell, recognizes industry innovators “whose products, processes or overall approach to marketing or management … raised the standard of excellence for the entire poultry industry.”

“[Perdue] has a business unit dedicated to converting poultry litter into organic fertilizer, a large-scale poultry grower best-practices partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency and, among other projects, employees committed to volunteering to clean up local waterways,” wrote Poultry magazine editor-at-large Alicia Karapetian.

Two new projects approved by Manure Initiative
The Manitoba Livestock Manure Management Initiative (‘Manure Initiative’) board of directors recently approved two new projects that will soon be underway:

  • “Dried distillers grains with soluble (DDGS) in poultry diets” and “Dried distillers grains with soluble (DDGS) in poultry diets and manure phosphorus content – implications for feeding strategies to decrease phosphorus loading.” – Dr. Rodriguez-Lecompte, Department of Animal Science, University of Manitoba.
  • “Development of dispersion-based [odor] setback distance guidelines for Manitoba.” – Dr. Qiang Zhang, Department of Biosystems Engineering, University of Manitoba. 

Dr. Juan Carlos Rodriguez-Lecompte, an Assistant Professor and Animal Scientist from the University of Manitoba, will head up a project set to examine the extent that including corn- and wheat-based dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) in poultry diets will influence manure phosphorus concentrations.  DDGS are important Canadian feed resources, but have been documented to contain high and variable phosphorus levels.
As a result, there is potential that DDGS may increase manure-phosphorus content, thus leading to phosphorus loading in soils when this manure is land applied.

The Manure Initiative has partnered with the Manitoba Chicken Producers to fund the project, which piggy-backs onto a larger, more comprehensive study supported by the Canadian Poultry Research Council, the Poultry Industry Council, Canadian Bio-systems Inc. and NSERC focusing on the implications of DDGS inclusion in poultry diets on animal productivity, well being, immunity and food safety.  Dr. Rodriguez-Lecompte’s project will get underway this month.

Dr. Qiang Zhang, a professor with the Department of Biosystems Engineering at the University of Manitoba, will seek to improve the current guideline for odor-mitigating setback distances from livestock operations.

The project idea evolved from a recommendation made by the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission that a dispersion-based odor setback guideline be established.  At present, most existing setback guidelines in the world are based on experience.  To establish a dispersion-based odor setback guideline, Dr. Zhang will a) develop odor impact criteria for defining acceptable odor exposure, b) develop models for quantifying odor emission rates from typical livestock operations in Manitoba, c) evaluate and select dispersion models for predicting the odor distribution surrounding livestock operations, and lastly d) combine those findings to form the dispersion-based setback guideline.


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