News 1027 views last update:May 7, 2007

Pig manure treatment erases greenhouse gases

Less greenhouse gas - and more carbon credits per pig - are the latest environmentally friendly benefits being credited to an innovative hog waste-management system invented by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists.

The system was originally introduced in 2004 by soil scientists Matias Vanotti, Ariel Szögi and Patrick Hunt at the ARS Coastal Plains Soil, Water and Plant Research Center, in Florence, South Carolina.

Soil amendments
This 'Super Soil System' turns hog waste into material for soil amendments and fertilisers, while removing almost all suspended solids, phosphorus and ammonia from the wastewater.

In the latest research - conducted at the large North Carolina hog-finishing operation that hosted initial system testing three years ago - the ARS researchers found that replacing conventional anaerobic lagoon practices with the new system reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 97%.

It cut annual emissions from 4,972 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents to just 153 tonnes.

Carbon dioxide market
This indicates the system may have a role in the fledgling carbon dioxide  market, which allows farmers to earn money based on how much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases they can prevent from entering the atmosphere using alternative technologies.

Seen in this fashion, the system lets pig producers garner more carbon credits per hog than the technology commonly used today does, according to Vanotti.

Szögi noted that earned carbon credits can help alleviate installation costs associated with cleaner aerobic systems.

The full-scale implementation of a lower-cost version of the system is currently going exceptionally well, according to Vanotti.

Related website:
• Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

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