Open Access
Agron. Sustain. Dev.
Volume 29, Number 2, April-June 2009
Page(s) 329 - 338
Published online 18 October 2008
Agron. Sustain. Dev. 29 (2009) 329-338
DOI: 10.1051/agro:2008047

Nutrient value, odour emission and energy production of manure as influenced by anaerobic digestion and separation

M. Hjorth1, A.M. Nielsen1, T. Nyord1, M.N. Hansen2, P. Nissen3 and S.G. Sommer4

1  Department of Agricultural Engineering, University of Aarhus, Blichers Allé 20, 8830 Tjele, Denmark
2  AgroTech, Udkaersvej 15, 8200 Århus N, Denmark
3  Kemira Miljø A/S, Måde Industrivej 19, 6705 Esbjerg Ø, Denmark
4  Institute of Chemical Engineering, Biotechnology and Environmental Engineering, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark

Accepted 31 July 2008 ; published online 18 October 2008

Abstract - Crop fields can be fertilised by application of manure because manure contains fertilising elements such as N and P, and organic matter that enhances soil physical properties. However, application of manure may also cause P and N pollution of surroundings, odour emission and waste of energy. A solution may be to apply an improved liquid manure fraction resulting from manure separation and anaerobic digestion. As previous studies have only focused on the factors individually, we carried out here a system analysis with the aim of optimising all the factors simultaneously. We tested three solid-liquid separations on raw manure and manure pre-digested in a biogas reactor, with the separation treatments being coagulation, flocculation and filtration, which differed mainly with respect to coagulant volume, and the N:P ratio of the products was measured. The NH3 and odour emission was determined from the liquid fractions during storage and after soil application, while the energy produced at anaerobic digestion of the solid fractions was measured. Our results show that energy production at digestion increased with decreasing coagulant volume, but was largely unaffected by anaerobic digestion whether performed both before and after or only after separation. Odour generation was reduced by pre-digestion. With increasing coagulant volume and without pre-digestion, the nutrient value of the liquid fraction was improved the most, as shown by an increase in the N/P ratio of the liquid fraction and by a decrease in NH3 emissions from stores and fields. The data proved that mechanical separation of raw manure, added coagulant and polymer, followed by anaerobic digestion of the solid fraction was the optimum strategy from a whole animal manure management perspective. The coagulant volume can be adjusted to favour either nutrient value and NH3 emission, or energy production.

Key words: animal slurry / solid–liquid separation / flocculation / biogas / NH3 emission / storage / soil application

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2008