Field Evaluation of an Electrostatic Air Filtration System for Reducing Incoming Particulate Matter of a Hen House

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Zhao, Yang
Chai, Lilong
Richardson, Brad
Xin, Hongwei
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Xin, Hongwei
Distinguished Professor Emeritus
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

As a result of the 2015 unprecedented high pathogenic avian influenza outbreak in the United States, some egg producers in the US started to use inlet air filtration to reduce the risk of disease transmission into hen houses through air route. Removal efficiency of particulate matter (PM), the carrier of airborne pathogens, by such filtration systems has not been investigated. This field study was, therefore, conducted to evaluate the PM removal efficacy by an electrostatic air filtration system (consisting of a low-grade air filter and an electrostatic particle ionization or EPI system) installed at the inlet of a commercial high-rise hen house. Evaluation was performed in two test rounds over one-year period. Results show that average PM removal efficiencies in rounds 1 (spring to summer) and 2 (late fall to spring) were respectively 66% and 29% for PM1, 66% and 30% for PM2.5, 66% and 31% for PM4, 68% and 36% for PM10, and 68% and 45% for total PM. Removal efficiency became unstable when the EPI system was inactivated (i.e. when solely relying on the filter for PM removal). House static pressure and ventilation rate indicated considerable clogging of the filter media by dust accumulation and the need for replacement after ~16 weeks of use in spring-to-summer time (round 1); however clogging was not an issue during the entire late fall-to-spring sampling period (round 2, 24 weeks). Appearance of the filter changed gradually as dust accumulated with time, which can be captured by image analysis and used to judge filter dirtiness and lifespan. Findings of this field study provide insight into the efficacy of PM removal by such a low-cost air filtration system, which will help egg producers in their decision-making for disease prevention strategies.


This proceeding is from 2017 ASABE Annual International Meeting, Paper No. 1700443, pages 1- (doi: 10.13031/aim.201700443). St. Joseph, Mich.: ASABE.

Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2017