Reducing pathogens and greenhouse gas emissions from swine manure using anaerobic digestion
Project 17-006 - Lead Researcher: Dr. Brandon Gilroyed, University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus
Project was funded in 2018 and is active.
Pork production contributes about 9% of total manure production in the Canadian livestock sector. During storage and land application manure undergoes natural degradation leading to the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as methane(CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), as well as pollutants such as ammonia (NH3), hydrogen sulfide (H2S),particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds. Continuous land application may result in oversaturation of soil and release of pathogenic microbes and water-soluble nutrients in waterways via leaching and runoff.
Anaerobic digestion (AD) of pig manure can reduce pathogens, mitigate GHG emissions, and capture methane for use as heat and/or renewable energy. However, in Ontario AD has not been readily adopted by pork producers due to technological challenges associated with the nitrogen-rich nature of swine manure, the footprint and cost of current digesters and the challenge of procuring energy-rich feedstock for the digester. We propose co-digestion of swine manure with plant biomass commonly available on most swine farms (corn stover, straw) in a novel dry AD process with a plug-flow reactor design. The new design will overcome technical barriers and increase feasibility of AD for swine manure management, through a smaller, more efficient digester that processes materials more quickly and is less expensive to build and maintain.