Batch System Holds Promise for Odor Reduction

URBANA — A system that utilizes heat shows promise in significantly reducing odor from swine production facilities, according to a Southern Illinois University researcher working in a $6 million project funded by the Council on Food and Agricultural Research (C-FAR).
calendar icon 12 November 2003
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"It is reasonable to expect over 80 percent odor removal from a full-scale semi-continuous system after startup," said James W. Blackburn, a professor of mechanical engineering and energy processing.

Blackburn's research involved an aerobic thermophilic treatment technique for animal wastes that is different from earlier approaches along the same lines. His research will be presented Dec. 11-12 in Champaign at the University of Illinois Swine Industry Conference that will focus on swine waste and odor management. Those interested in attending the conference should contact Gilbert Hollis at (217) 333-0013, e-mail: [email protected] .

"Current practices of swine waste management are typically based on storage of wastes in an open lagoon for a number of months during which time anaerobic processes operate to create highly reduced, odorous organic and inorganic compounds," said Blackburn. "Periodically, the solids are removed and applied to crop land.

"Significant odors are released during both storage and solids disposal."

The result has led to resistance to the siting of new swine farms. And, Blackburn noted, none of the currently applied waste disposal efforts achieves efficient reuse or sustainability of the high-energy resource represented by swine wastes.

The system that Blackburn examined--one that is now in planning and construction at an Illinois swine farm--utilizes aerobic biological oxidation at approximately 55 degrees (C) to achieve high pollutant reduction at a level of about 60 to 70 percent within six days.

"Olfactory analyses of samples of off gas from a pilot batch system made within hours of being taken showed over 90 percent reduction in odor-detection threshold," said Blackburn. "Odor removal was noticed at laboratory scale and verified by direct olfactometry at the scale batch pilot plant."

Blackburn believes the system shows considerable promise for addressing a major issue in the swine industry--odor and waste management.

"Technically and economically, this odor-removal technology has the potential to compete with other manure-management technologies and should be given strong consideration," he said. "However, full-scale application, evaluation, and validation on commercial operations will be necessary before this process could be recommended for commercial adoption."

Source: ACES News - 12th November 2003

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