Reference Type: Electronic Resource
Title: Methane Recovery from Animal Manures The Current Opportunities Casebook
Primary Authors: Anonymous
Abstract: Growth and concentration of the livestock industry create opportunities for the proper disposal of the large quantities of manures generated at dairy, swine, and poultry farms. Pollutants from unmanaged livestock wastes can degrade the environment, and methane emitted from decomposing manure may contribute to global climate change. One management system not only provides pollution prevention but also can convert a manure problem into a new profit center. Economic evaluations and case studies of operating systems indicate that the anaerobic digestion (AD) of livestock manures is a commercially available bioconversion technology with considerable potential for providing profitable coproducts, including a cost-effective renewable fuel for livestock production operations. This Casebook examines some of the current opportunities for the recovery of methane from the AD animal manures. U.S. livestock operations currently employ four types of anaerobic digester technology: slurry, plug-flow, complete-mix, and covered lagoon. An introduction to the engineering economies of these technologies is provided, and possible end-use applications for the methane gas generated by the digestion process are discussed. The economic evaluations are based on engineering studies of digesters that generate electricity from the recovered methane. Case studies of operating digesters, with project and maintenance histories and the operators ''lessons learned,'' are included as reality checks. Factors necessary for successful projects, as well as a list of reasons explaining why some AD projects fail, are provided. The role of farm management is key; not only must digesters be well engineered and built with high-quality components, they must also be sited at farms willing to incorporate the uncertainties of a new technology. More than two decades of research has provided much information about how manure can be converted to an energy source; however, the American farmer has not been motivated to adopt new practices. More cost-effective and easily managed manure management techniques are still needed to encourage farmers to use animal manure for conversion into energy and nutrients, especially for smaller farms. AD benefits farmers monetarily and mitigates possible manure pollution problems, thereby sustaining development while maintaining environmental quality. Moreover, rural economic development will benefit from the implicit multiplier effect resulting from jobs created by implementing digester systems. Promising future waste-to-profit activities may add to the economic performance of AD. New end-use applications, which provide added value to coproducts, are discussed.
Ag Matters Catalog ID: 56