Pilot-Scale Testing of Non-Activated Biochar for Swine Manure Treatment and Mitigation of Ammonia, Hydrogen Sulfide, Odorous Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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Kalus, Kajetan
Opalinski, Sebastian
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Maurer, Devin
Research Associate II/Lab Manager
Koziel, Jacek
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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Managing the environmental impacts associated with livestock production is a challenge for farmers, public and regulatory agencies. Sustainable solutions that take into account technical and socioeconomic factors are needed. For example, the comprehensive control of odors, ammonia (NH3), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from swine production is a critical need. Stored manure is a major source of gaseous emissions. Mitigation technologies based on bio-based products such as biochar are of interest due to the potential benefits of nutrient cycling. The objective of this study was to test non-activated (non-functionalized) biochar for the mitigation of gaseous emissions from stored manure. Specifically, this included testing the effects of: (1) time; and (2) dosage of biochar application to the swine manure surface on gaseous emissions from deep-pit storage. The biochar surface application was tested with three treatments (1.14, 2.28 and 4.57 kg·m−2 manure) over a month. Significant reductions in emissions were observed for NH3 (12.7–22.6% reduction as compared to the control). Concomitantly, significant increases in CH4emissions (22.1–24.5%) were measured. Changes to emissions of other target gases (including CO2, N2O, H2S, dimethyl disulfide/methanethiol, dimethyl trisulfide, n-butyric-, valeric-, and isovaleric acids, p-cresol, indole, and skatole) were not statistically significant. Biochar treatment could be a promising and comparably-priced option for reducing NH3emissions from stored swine manure.


This article is from Sustainability 2017, 9(6), 929; doi:10.3390/su9060929. Posted with permission.

Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2017