Friday, January 18, 2019

How Manure Management Can Benefit from Anaerobic Digestion

There is significant potential for the anaerobic digestion industry to grow, assuming that the benefits of anaerobic digestion and the biogas it produces are fully appreciated. The anaerobic digestion of manure on livestock farms for manure management is a large possible growth area.

If it meets its full potential, the UK AD industry could meet 30% of the UK's household gas or electricity demand and create around 35,000 jobs, mainly in rural areas where AD plants tend to be located. AD also improves energy security and soil quality, both major government policy objectives, through producing home-grown renewable energy and a nutrient-rich natural fertilizer respectively.

"The UK AD industry has grown by more than 350% over the last ten years and the UK has established itself as a world leader in biogas, with UK companies already exporting biogas-related expertise and equipment. The UK has a real opportunity to be at the heart of the growing global biogas industry, which has the potential to be worth £1 trillion." said Charlotte Morton of the AD industry associations ADBA organisation.

Manure Management Can Benefit from Anaerobic Digestion

Energy produced from anaerobic digestion will come to play a greater role in the global energy mix as countries look to reduce GHG emissions and generate clean energy. The use of anaerobic digestion as a means to utilize organic waste means that it is being incorporated into waste management programmes, to reduce the amount of waste that we either send to landfill or to be incinerated. Through the process of anaerobic digestion, operators can produce a bio-fertilizer, proven to be a cost-effective and environmentally sensitive solution to increase crop yields. The main factors that dictate the potential for an anaerobic digestion market in countries across the world are linked to the availability of feedstock and the state of the regulatory environment.

The numerous benefits of anaerobic digestion to generate clean, baseload energy, improve waste management and produce a bio-fertilize to improve agricultural yields will result in a large-scale adoption of the technology, as was seen in parts of Europe in the early part of the 21st Century. Anaerobic digestion facilities continue to receive high levels of investment, proving to be a cost-effective way to utilizing biological waste/organic material to generate energy, as well as achieving significant reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Digestate can be used as fertilizer and soil conditioner as it contains nitrogen and potassium, both being plant nutrients that can significantly improve growth. It is made from dead micro-organisms and remaining indigestible material during the anaerobic digestion process. It can be used straight from the digester or separated into liquor and fiber.

By using digestate instead of synthetic fertilizers, you can save energy, reduce your carbon footprint as well as decreasing fossil fuel consumption. As none of the potassium, phosphorous or nitrogen is present in the biogas after anaerobic digestion, all of these nutrients are present in the digestate.

Image shows the Benefits of Anaerobic Digestion for Manure Management featured image.
Biogas can either be combusted to make heat and electricity, or as mentioned earlier, can be purified and pumped into the mains gas grid or used as road fuel. You can find more information on how to use biogas for heat only purposes, electricity only purposes or to create combined energy.

Consumer demand for greener, lower-carbon products and services is on the rise. As a farm business, embracing renewable energy has many benefits.

Not only are farmers investing in the future of our planet with their anaerobic digestion derived energy choice, but they are also appealing to a modern market that is putting sustainability at the top of its priority list. Tie this in with waste reduction, manure management and other sustainability efforts and you'll have a well-rounded plan for becoming and staying environmentally friendly.

Sustainable Food Production A safe, nutritious, and affordable food supply is needed to sustain populations worldwide. Farmers work hard to meet the growing food demand and remain viable in today’s global marketplace. 

Efficiently using water and nutrients for crop and animal needs can cut costs, reduce environmental impacts, and contribute to a safer, more productive farm. Manure digesters on livestock farms can: Protect animal and human health by reducing pathogens. 

Convert nutrients in manure into a form that is more accessible for plants to use compared to raw manure. This can increase crop productivity and yield. 

Recycle nutrients on the farm, creating an economically and environmentally sustainable food production system. 

Produce heat, electricity, or fuel from biogas which can be used on-farm, lessening the agriculture sector’s dependence on fossil fuel energy. 

Accept food waste from places like restaurants and grocery stores. This means less food waste is sent to landfills. 

Food waste has the added benefit of increasing the efficiency of farm digesters.

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