Wet Scrubbers for the Recovery of NH3 Emission from Animal Feeding Operations for Fertilizer

Wet Scrubbers for the Recovery of NH3 Emission from Animal Feeding Operations for Fertilizer (Drs. Zhao, Li, Rausch, and Zhu-UM)

Ammonia (NH3) emission, a significant nitrogen (N) nutrient loss from agricultural activities, has become a significant environmental and public concern as it impacts health, ecosystem acidity, and formation of small aerosol particles. There is an urgent need to explore innovative technologies for the abatement and recovery of NH3 emissions from agricultural productions to protect the environment and create alternative solutions for fertilizer needs in farming. This project meets the need to develop wet scrubber technology for AFOs to recover NH3 emission for nitrogen fertilizer.

Ammonia (NH3) emission, a significant nitrogen (N) nutrient loss from agricultural activities, has become a significant environmental and public concern as it impacts health, ecosystem acidity, and formation of small aerosol particles. Since 1999, almost 40% of the U.S. nitrogen fertilizer capacity has been forced to permanently close due to the high cost of natural gas, which resulted in significant concerns about the availability and cost of nitrogen fertilizer for farming. It is very important to explore innovative technologies for the abatement and recovery of NH3 emissions from agricultural productions to protect the environment and create alternative solutions for fertilizer needs in farming. To date, there is no effective and economically feasible NH3 recovery and abatement technology readily available.

Wet scrubber prototypes for recovery of NH3 emission from poultry and swine animal facilities had been developed, optimized and tested in lab. Three wet scrubbers had been installed and tested on commercial animal farms; one at a covered manure storage at University Minnesota, one at a commercial poultry manure composting facility, and one at a swine deep-pit facility in Ohio.  The field tests will be finished in summer of 2012.  Long term-performance of the wet scrubbers and the economic analysis will be conducted in 2012.  One workshop had been organized in May 2011 to educate the stakeholders about nitrogen conservation and ammonia recovery.  The research findings will be published through peer reviewed journal articles and a series of fact sheets will be developed.  A wet scrubber demonstration workshop will be organized in Aug. of 2012.

The developed ammonia wet scrubbers created a new feasible ammonia abatement technology and alternative source of nitrogen fertilizer. The knowledge and technology developed will enable animal farmers to effectively mitigate NH3 emissions for the protection of environment and human health, and the conservation of nitrogen for the economic competitiveness of the animal industry.