Manure could heat your home

March 8, 2018, University of Waterloo
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Farm manure could be a viable source of renewable energy to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

Researchers at the University of Waterloo are developing technology to produce renewable natural gas from manure so it can be added to the existing energy supply system for heating homes and powering industries. That would eliminate particularly harmful gases released by naturally decomposing manure when it is spread on fields as fertilizer and partially replace fossil natural gas, a significant contributor to global warming.

"There are multiple ways we can benefit from this single approach," said David Simakov, a professor of chemical engineering at Waterloo. "The potential is huge."

Simakov said the technology could be viable with several kinds of manure, particularly cow and pig manure, as well as at landfill sites.

In addition to being used by industries and in homes, renewable natural gas could replace diesel fuel for trucks in the transportation sector, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.

To test the concept, researchers built a computer model of an actual 2,000-head dairy farm in Ontario that collects manure and converts it into biogas in anaerobic digesters. Some of that biogas is already used to produce electricity by burning it in generators, reducing the environmental impact of manure while also yielding about 30 to 40 percent of its energy potential.

Researchers want to take those benefits a significant 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. A chemical reaction in the converter would 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. 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 fertilizer.

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

The modelling study showed that a $5-million investment in a methanation system at the Ontario farm would, with government price subsidies for renewable natural gas, have about a five-year payback period.

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

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35 comments

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dirk_bruere
3 / 5 (4) Mar 08, 2018
Bullshit
Eikka
2.6 / 5 (5) Mar 08, 2018
with government price subsidies for renewable natural gas, have about a five-year payback period.


Invoking government price subsidies is meaningless, as you could argue for any payback period - just needs higher subsidies.

What about without subsidies? Does it pay back, ever? If not, back to the drawing board.
Liebnitz434
2 / 5 (4) Mar 08, 2018

This crap was secretly provided by the Onion.

So after you scrap the pasture clean of BS for ten years, what are you going to fertilize it with? Further, are you not going to use it on the corn field or whatever and substitute hydrocarbon intensive fertilizer? If you want BS speak to a politician.

Those who like organic foods could heat their homes with it. Up in Smoke.
rrwillsj
4 / 5 (4) Mar 08, 2018
Lots of hostility from the steers. The most cost-efficient applications will NOT be ranches. Butt, rather, cattle feedlot, dairies. poultry farms and slaughterhouses.

It is questionable about profits and subsidy needs. However, that should include results such as controlling fumes and dust. Which would give economic advantages to small, local family operations.

Surrounded by the homes of hypocritical snobs of all parties. Whining all the time about the smells. As they sit down to their steak & eggs.

Dispersing energy-producing facilities is a national security consideration. As would be, smaller operations easier to monitor and control disease outbreaks.

Despite the infantile rants of the Lazy-farie cultists? With their mouths tightly pressed around the taxpayers teats. Nothing is a 100%! Considering the alternatives? The usage described in this article seems like a sensible compromise.
Porgie
not rated yet Mar 08, 2018
One of the problems is urine on the fed lot. The manure is not a problem but how do you separate the acidic urine? That eats up pipes and equipment and requires treatment which adds to the cost.
PeterPassword
5 / 5 (1) Mar 09, 2018
I remember back in the '80s when I was producing a farming magazine for an NGO, one article was about Indian famers, and a common method in India was a digester under the farmer's house into which all human & animal waste is fed, the resulting gas piped into the house, providing gas for cooking and lighting. Clearly much lower tech than this a, but showing that all solutions aren't necessarily mega high tech ones.
Decentralised energy production, whether natural gas, solar panels or wind turbines, is a preferable solution to centralised grids. In parts of the world without already a grid in place, such as in Africa, a decentralised solar solution is already taking place, with village-sized renewable generation for homes or mobile-charging stations, and standalone units for single family supply all. This way they will avoid the massive cost of installing a complete grid. If the developed countries didn't already have power grids, there would be a good argument for not creating them.
gkam
3 / 5 (4) Mar 09, 2018
leibnitz, you do not understand the process or the cycle apparently. I will take time to explain.

This is old stuff. I ran an ethanol plant off an anaerobic digesters thirty-five years ago in my thesis design for a system which ran on pollution. Today's digesters are much better, providing 70% methane using high-temperature mesophilic bacteria in a stirred tank reactor.

The products are combustible gases, conditioned nutrients, and fiber which is used for cattle bedding. The effluent with stabilized nutrients is metered into the irrigation water to replace those taken up by the plants, and returned to the soil. By not using artificial Nitrogen it saves the existing bacteria in the soil, building it up by re-inocculating it with the beneficial bacteria from the digester.
gkam
3 / 5 (4) Mar 09, 2018
Anaerobic digesters on dairies can produce substantial changes for the better, the reduction of nitrate pollution in air and water plus the additional power provided the society. For every seven head, enough power can be produced to power an entire household for a day.

A 7,000-head herd in California, a typical size, can power itself plus 1000 homes, while ending many pollution problems and reducing the need for fertilizers.
gkam
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 09, 2018
"the fossil fuels have backup and their energy can be produced on demand, whereas this "renewable" one not""

Incorrect! The gas is stored, and the process is continuous, with overlapping units. Learn how it is done before responding, please.
Liebnitz434
3 / 5 (2) Mar 09, 2018
@gkam,

Farm manure could be a viable source of renewable

researchers built a computer model of an actual 2,000-head dairy farm

You're unbelievably full of it nor have you ever been on a real farm or dairy farm. Farms are't feedlots. Modern large dairy farms process mature and urine into a slurry then fertilize there fields with it because the corn fields and pastures need it.
Eikka
3.5 / 5 (2) Mar 10, 2018
Modern large dairy farms process mature and urine into a slurry then fertilize there fields with it because the corn fields and pastures need it.


The gas digesters produce the same type of fertilizer. The minerals are not lost in the process, just the energy-containing carbohydrates like cellulose that would only rot in the field and stink up the place.

The process of handling the manure is the same, it only spends some time in a reactor where bacteria eat the manure and fart out methane, like they would in the field, but this time the methane is captured and then the leftover slurry is sprayed on the fields and pastures.
gkam
1 / 5 (2) Mar 10, 2018
Leibnitz,I am very eager to have a contest urinating for distance in this discussion.

We do not want to spread raw manure on fields. In the processing of it, the nutrients are converted into forms able to be taken up by plants. Not so if it is raw.

The anaerobic process also uses complex mixtures of different organisms for different parts of the process, like a soup. They are not all the same.

And there are different types of bacteria and different mixtures operating at different temperatures and different conditions. It ain't simple. What has been shown to work well is replacing the plug-flow units with CSTR systems, Continuously-Stirred Tank Reactors, operating at high mesophilic temperatures around 100F.

Now, should we talk about nitrogen conversion from urine? It is another process.

And we NEVER use feedlot manure for this. It is heavily contaminated with pharmaceuticals which kill the bacteria. Your post indicates a lack of knowledge.
gkam
1 / 5 (2) Mar 10, 2018
"researchers built a computer model of an actual 2,000-head dairy farm"

My work was on a real one, of 3,000 head in Idaho.
gkam
1 / 5 (1) Mar 10, 2018
Leibnitz, don't go away we are just getting started!!

I want you to explain to us the nitrification/denitrification processes used to condition the urine, which is handled separately.
Liebnitz434
5 / 5 (1) Mar 10, 2018
Cuckoo birds go piss on a rope. Great computer model. Go to Texas A&M Ag school first. Waterloo doesn't have an Ag school. Try working on a real farm. Gkam you're an aerospace and nuke engineer, right? Academic nitwits.
gkam
1 / 5 (2) Mar 10, 2018
Stop running away and defend yourself!

You can start with the decision to use thermophilic or mesophilic organisms. What do you recommend? Why?

Do you have a better configuration than CSTR? What?

Come back, . . no hiding!
gkam
1 / 5 (2) Mar 10, 2018
BTW, Toots, I have no engineering courses at all. I was a technician who proved he could do practical engineering work so I did it. It started with electronics, making semiconductors an an Electronics Engineer, then went to physical Plant Engineering in plastics, then primary metals, then worked as a Research Engineer and then becoming Senior Engineer in Technical Services for Pacific Gas & Electric before going out on my own as a consultant for 18 years.

How about you?
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (1) Mar 10, 2018
Errr, where do you get fertilizer to replace the manure? Just askin'.
gkam
1 / 5 (2) Mar 10, 2018
The manure replaces purchased fertilizer.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Mar 10, 2018
This is old stuff. I ran an ethanol plant off an anaerobic digesters thirty-five years ago in my thesis design for a system which ran on pollution
George keeps pretending that the popsci paper he wrote for his store-bought MS in 'life experiences' was a real thesis. Just like he keeps pretending everybody here doesnt know about it.

Hey George, remember when you claimed that manure dust, which you referred to as 'volatile solids', was a major constituent of pollution in the high air above the central valley?

Wrong and wrong and wrong.

See, that's the kind of shit you get to make up when you've got a fake MS and a fake education and a real CV comprised of 15-16 temp jobs of 6 month duration or less.

Your whole lives a lie so what the heck?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Mar 10, 2018
I have no engineering courses at all
-See that? He even admits it. Crapped out of 3 colleges, no undergrad degree, and yet he thinks that his long list of 6 month temp jobs is enough to convince a real academic institution to give him a real MS.

Everybody here knows that's utter bullshit George. You know why? Because this is a science site where most people KNOW what real degrees and real educations, and real jobs, are.

George thinks bullshitting people here is as easy as bullshitting all those overworked, trusting goober supervisors he hoodwinked into giving him all those jobs he lost.

He got them but he couldn't KEEP them of course, because he couldn't DO them.

And then they invented HR, largely because of all the damage that people like George were doing, and that put an end to that.

The hubris of the mundane psychopath. THATS entertainment.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Mar 10, 2018
A number of people wasted a lot of time exposing this lying psychopath. In case anyone's curious
https://phys.org/...rgy.html
https://phys.org/...rgy.html

Stumpy and ira both exposed his lies.
TrollBane
not rated yet Mar 10, 2018
Yep, using the ignore option to mute the feud was a good idea.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Mar 11, 2018
Yep, using the ignore option to mute the feud was a good idea.
Yep, guys with niks like troll* will continue to welcome liars and fact-fabricators here at physorg as long as they support their arguments. We call this 'selfish'.

The ignore option stands for 'ignorant'.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Mar 11, 2018
then worked as a Research Engineer and then becoming Senior Engineer in Technical Services for Pacific Gas & Electric before going out on my own as a consultant for 18 years.


Without the proper credentials you admit you lack, it would have been entirely illegal for you to do any of that. This has been pointed out many times.

Either you're lying about your positions and job titles, or admitting fraud.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Mar 11, 2018
The consequences of engineering fraud can be dire:

http://laist.com/...uilt.php
For eleven years, two men pretending to work for a Rolling Hills Estates civil engineering firm lied about their qualifications as structural engineers, during which they built or renovated an estimated several hundred homes and structures throughout Southern California


https://www.youtu...CbWHwU24

The structures they designed may have to be torn down, causing millions in damages. In any case, proper engineers now have to go through the designs and structures to verify their safety and that will cost a ton of money anyways.

So if I was gkam, I wouldn't be bragging about having worked as an engineer without a license. You're flirting with a massive lawsuit.

The fact that gkam is completely unconcerned about the legal aspects of his claims goes to prove that he's telling porkies.
gkam
1 / 5 (2) Mar 11, 2018
As many times as I have said it, Eikka does not get it: I can have the job of an engineer if I can fulfill the job. I do not need a degree to work for others in their company as an engineer.

You are confusing operating as a registered engineer in one specialty. I am not that, and do not need it. I solve technical problems, in all fields, as a consultant. All of them know my background since all my work was from word-of-mouth.

This brings up the fact of your need to impose your google searches and incomplete knowledge in areas you have never worked, and keep on making the same errors.

Doesn't it embarrass you?
gkam
1 / 5 (2) Mar 11, 2018
I am the only one in this argument who uses his real name and is honest about it. The cowards such as Eikka and "otto" cannot. They are not even real. It really bugs them when somebody with real experience comes along to show them up.

What did you folk do with Ira? Did he finally give up the act? I wanted to send him a picture of me in the Tesla P85. 0-60, . . about 3 seconds. Costs nothing to drive.

Got a Ferrari or Maserati? Want to run them for pinks?
gkam
1 / 5 (2) Mar 11, 2018

btw, I saw a history of the real otto scorzeny, and he was no hero, but a poseur, one who trailed along with others and took credit for what they did.

They showed how he forced his why into the aircraft carrying Mussolini to the Nazis, and took credit for it. When he told it, HE was the pilot!

He turns out to be another Trump!
gkam
1 / 5 (2) Mar 11, 2018
"Either you're lying about your positions and job titles, or admitting fraud"

Got the list of my old posts? Look up the references I gave you, the posts in the NASA catalog of studies and reports, my Master of Science, even my sterling personnel reports from the service, where the Avionics Officer in the Air Force Flight Test Center used the term "perfect airman".

Or you can ask me to explain how to do waveshape analysis on powerlines and distribution circuits. Or how we used computers to run operations in semiconductors in 1972. Or how we bugged Southeast Asia in the Vietnam War.

Or you can wait for my story to come out in Smithsonian Air and Space Magazine which they bought for publication. I bring up just a few to remind the anonymous goobers here there are real people in this group.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Mar 11, 2018
So if I was gkam, I wouldn't be bragging about having worked as an engineer without a license. You're flirting with a massive lawsuit
"Cleckley's seminal hypothesis concerning the psychopath is that he suffers from a very real mental illness indeed: a profound and incurable affective deficit. If he really feels anything at all, they are emotions of only the shallowest kind. He does bizarre and self-destructive things because consequences that would fill the ordinary man with shame, self-loathing, and embarrassment simply do not affect the psychopath at all. What to others would be a disaster is to him merely a fleeting inconvenience."
Eikka does not get it: I can have the job of an engineer if I can fulfill the job
But georgie, you couldn't. That's why you lost 15+ of them, from what you've told us. And then sat as a Maytag consultant for 18 years.
Cont>
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Mar 11, 2018
Most of us would've considered a career such as this an abject failure. But to a psychopath, tricking real professionals into hiring them when they're not qualified is a triumph. In their mind it proves theyre smarter than the pros. Like I say for psychopaths, the con is the thing.

For George, getting the job was far more important than doing the job.

He also believes that each of these failed jobs will somehow make people believe hes an authority on that particular subject. This an especially curious cognitive disconnect.

"psychopaths are good imposters. They have absolutely no hesitation about forging and brazenly using impressive credentials to adopt professional roles that bring prestige and power. They pick professions in which the requisite skills are easy to fake, the jargon is easy to learn, and the credentials are unlikely to be thoroughly checked. Psychopaths find it extremely easy to pose as financial consultants, ministers, counselors..."

And engrs.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Mar 11, 2018
Or you can ask me to explain how to do waveshape analysis on powerlines and distribution circuits. Or how we used computers to run operations in semiconductors in 1972
- or what CFR is. George wrote his engg thesis without knowing anything about the regs that governed design. I'm sure his reviewers pointed this out. But honorary degrees are kind of worthless anyways, right? Rubber stamps are cheap.

What other large holes are you full of georgie?
https://youtu.be/8ZHsxPEAUOI
gkam
1 / 5 (2) Mar 11, 2018
No discussion of unit design for anaerobic digesters? Thermophilic versus mesophilic?

Only snark indicative of emotional problems?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Mar 11, 2018
No discussion of unit design for anaerobic digesters? Thermophilic versus mesophilic?
"...the jargon is easy to learn..."

You're an open (comic)book.

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