“Manure Use for Fertilizer and Energy,” a report published by the USDA says that manure can be used to produce energy commercially on farms without competing withthe supply needed for fertilizer.
The manure-to-energy interest is growing, but the actual implementation of the plan is not common in the United States. Most producers use anaerobic digestion and combustion to caputre carbon dioxide and methane for electricity generation according to the report. This is mostly done on hog and dairy farms.
Combustion is most beneficial to fuel large power plants with cattle manure and poultry litter that have high energy and low moisture content. Only one exists today using turkey litter.
Biomass Magazine said, ” Using manure for energy won’t impose substantial constraints on manure for fertilizer supplies, the report says, because the technologies do not consume the nutrients that are beneficial for plant growth. In anaerobic digestion, the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium remain in the effluent to be spread on fields. Digestion also eliminates odors and nearly eliminates pathogens, according to the report. Combustion plants burn nitrogen nutrients, but leave the phosphorous and potassium in concentrated form in the ash residues. In addition, manure-to-energy projects function in markets for fertilizer and energy and will be most economical in those areas where acquisition costs of manure are lowest, the report says. In turn, manure costs will be lowest where manure is in excess supply.
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