• 46°

New Tech Removes Air Pollutants, May Reduce Energy Use In Animal Ag Facilities

Researchers from North Carolina State University and West Virginia University have developed a new technology that can reduce air pollutant emissions from some chicken and swine barns, and also reduce their energy use by recovering and possibly generating heat.

Specifically, the research team designed, built, and evaluated a proof-of-concept unit that incorporates a biofilter and a heat exchanger to reduce ammonia emissions from livestock barns, while also tempering – or heating up – the fresh air that is pumped into the barns.

The pollution removal component utilizes a biofiltration mechanism, in which polluted air is passed through an organic medium, such as compost or wood chips, that contains bacteria. Those bacteria interact with the pollutants and break them down into harmless or less harmful constituents. Biofiltration also allows recycling of nitrogen because when the “spent” medium is applied on cropland, the nitrogen becomes available to the crops. However, biofiltration also introduces additional costs for animal agriculture operations. The researchers hope to defray those costs by reducing an operation’s energy consumption.

Here’s how their prototype works: warm, polluted air from the livestock facility enters the biofilter, and some of the heat is transferred to the heat exchanger. When fresh air from outside is pumped into the building, it passes over the heat exchanger, warming it up.

The prototype not only helps recover heat from the facility, it also produces its own heat. This heat is generated within the biofilter when heat-producing biochemical reactions occur – for example, when the ammonia is converted into nitrate by bacteria. The heat from the biofilter is also routed to the heat exchanger.

Maintaining the appropriately high temperature is important for chicken and swine operations, because it is essential for rearing chicks and piglets to maturity.

“The technology is best suited for use when an operation wants to vent a facility that has high ammonia concentrations, and pump in cleaner air in preparation for a fresh batch ofchicks or piglets – particularly in cold weather. It is also suitable for use when supplemental heat is required for raising the young animals,” says Dr. Sanjay Shah, an associate professor of biological and agricultural engineering at NC State and lead author of a paper describing the research. For this to be feasible, it would be necessary to replace a couple of the conventional cold weather ventilation fans with higher-pressure fans. Shah explains that the technology is not compatible with summer ventilation using tunnel-fans, because of the high cost and choking effect on the fans.

Shah says the researchers focused on ammonia removal because: it is released from chicken and swine houses in large quantities; it contributes to nutrient loading problems such as hypoxia; it is an indirect contributor to greenhouse gases (GHGs) because it can break down in to the potent GHG nitrous oxide in the ground; and because it is a precursor to very fine particulate matter, which contributes to haze and public health problems, such as asthma.

Researchers showed that their design is effective under real-world conditions, operating their prototype in a 5,000-bird chicken house. The prototype removed up to 79 percent of ammonia and reduced the energy needed to maintain the necessary temperature in the facility – recovering as much as 8.3 kilowatts of heat.

“We plan to continue working to improve the system design in order to make it even more efficient,” Shah says.

The paper, “Coupled Biofilter – Heat Exchanger Prototype for a Broiler House,” is published in the December issue of Applied Engineering in Agriculture. The paper was co-authored by David Workman, Jarred Yates, Tom Basden, and Chestina Merriner of West Virginia University, and Dr. June DeGraft-Hanson of the University of Maryland. The research was funded by the Energy Efficiency Program of the West Virginia Development Office.

NC State’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering is a joint department under the university’s College of Engineering and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

source: NC State University

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

Board of elections discusses upgrading voting machines, making precinct changes

News

Lawmakers finalize how state will spend COVID-19 funds

Local

Salisbury Station one of several ‘hot spots’ included in NCDOT rail safety study

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, school considering options

Nation/World

Lara Trump may have eyes on running for a Senate seat

Local

Rowan among counties in Biden’s disaster declaration from November floods

Local

PETA plans protest at Salisbury Police Department on Friday

BREAKING NEWS

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, charter revoked

Coronavirus

29 new positives, no new COVID-19 deaths reported

Crime

Blotter: Woman charged with drug crimes

News

Nesting no more: Eagles appear to have moved on from Duke’s Buck Station

Business

The Smoke Pit leaving downtown Salisbury for standalone building on Faith Road

Education

Shoutouts

High School

High school football: Hornets’ Gaither set the tone against West

Local

Salisbury to show off new fire station

Education

Livingstone College to host virtual Big Read events this month

Local

City makes some appointments to local boards, holds off on others to seek women, appointees of color

Education

Education briefs: RCCC instructor honored by Occupational Therapy Association

Local

Second quarter financial update shows promising outlook for city’s budget

Columnists

Genia Woods: Let’s talk about good news in Salisbury

Local

City attorney will gather more information for Salisbury nondiscrimination ordinance

Education

North Hills planning to hold May fundraiser in person

East Spencer

Developers aim to transform former Dunbar School site into multi-purpose community development

Education

Knox student organizing event to get community cycling