Monday, December 10, 2018

Canadian technology gets more energy from manure

April 30, 2018 by  
Filed under News & Business

Researchers are developing ways to increase the potential to use farmyard manure as a renewable energy source that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Technology developed by experts from Waterloo University in Canada could be used to produce renewable natural gas from manure so it can be added to the existing energy supply system for heating homes and powering industries.

Researchers say doing so would eliminate particularly harmful gases released by naturally decomposing manure when it is spread on farm fields as fertiliser and partially replace fossil natural gas – a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

“There are multiple ways we can benefit from this single approach,” said chemical engineering professor David Simakov. “The potential is huge.”

Computer model

Prof Simakov said the technology could be viable with several kinds of manure, particularly cow and pig slurry. As well as being used by industries and in homes, renewable natural gas could replace diesel fuel for trucks in the transportation sector, he said.

To test the concept, researchers built a computer model of a real 2,000-head dairy farm that already converts manure into biogas via anaerobic digestion. Some of the biogas is already used to produce electricity by burning it in generators, yielding about 30-40% of its energy potential.

Researchers want to take those benefits a step further by upgrading, or converting, biogas from manure into renewable natural gas. That would involve mixing it with hydrogen, then running it through a catalytic converter to produce methane from carbon dioxide in the biogas.

Known as methanation, the process would require electricity to produce hydrogen, but that power could be generated on-site by renewable wind or solar systems – or taken from the electrical grid at times of low demand.

More efficient

The net result would be renewable natural gas that yields almost all of manure’s energy potential and also efficiently stores electricity, but has only a fraction of the greenhouse gas impact of manure used as fertiliser.

“This is how we can make the transition from fossil-based energy to renewable energy using existing infrastructure, which is a tremendous advantage,” said Prof Simakov, who is collaborating with fellow chemical engineering professor Michael Fowler.

The modelling study showed that a £2.8m investment in a methanation system at the Ontario farm would – with Canadian government price subsidies for renewable natural gas – would have a payback period of about five years.

A paper on modelling of a renewable natural gas generation facility at the Ontario farm, which also involved a post-doctoral researcher and several students, was recently published in the International Journal of Energy Research.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

 
barbour pas cher barbour pas cher barbour pas cher barbour pas cher barbour pas cher golden goose saldi golden goose saldi golden goose saldi golden goose saldi golden goose saldi doudoune moncler pas cher doudoune moncler pas cher doudoune moncler pas cher doudoune moncler pas cher doudoune moncler pas cher moncler outlet online moncler outlet online moncler outlet online moncler outlet online moncler outlet online