Friday, March 9, 2018

Researcher looking to extract more energy from manure

A chemical engineering professor at the University of Waterloo thinka he has a process that will extract more energy from manure.

His proposal is a multi-step process that begins with an anaerobic digester to produce biogas, a process that has been familiar and tried on farms for more than two decades.

Then he would mix it with hydrogen and run it through a catalytic converter.

That yields methane which is produced from carbon dioxide in the biogas.

The net result is natural gas, says professor David Simakov.

He says this process extracts almost all of manure’s energy. It is also a way to store electricity and reduces the release of methane, a greenhouse gas, from manure.

So far he has run some computer simulations based on a herd of 2,000 dairy cattle.

So if he extracts almost all of the energy from manure, is there any nitrogen left to grow a crop? And if not, does that require farmers to purchase nitrogen made from oil?

And if that's the case, what's the real environmental benefit?