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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Florence, South Carolina » Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research » Research » Research Project #430072

Research Project: Innovative Bioresource Management Technologies for Enhanced Environmental Quality and Value Optimization

Location: Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research

2016 Annual Report


1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
1. Develop improved treatment technologies to better manage manure from swine, poultry and dairy operations to reduce releases to the environment of odors, pathogens, ammonia, and greenhouse gases as well as to maximize nutrient recovery. 2. Develop renewable energy via thermochemical technologies and practices for improved conversion of manure into heat, power, biofuels, and biochars. 3. Develop guidelines to minimize nitrous oxide emissions from poultry and swine manure-impacted riparian buffers and treatment wetlands. 4. Develop beneficial uses of manure treatment technology byproducts.


1b. Approach (from AD-416):
This research will take a synergistic approach towards developing innovative and effective animal manure treatment practices and holistic systems. This research will pursue four complementary bioresource management approaches. First, improved treatment technologies to better manage manure from swine, poultry, and dairy operations will be developed to reduce releases into the environment of odors, pathogens, ammonia, and greenhouse gases as well as to maximize nutrient recovery. These technologies include improved solid liquid separation, enhanced biological nitrogen treatment by anaerobic ammonia oxidation, recovery of ammonia from manure using gas permeable membranes, recovery of phosphorus from solid manure, wastewater treatment using constructed wetlands, in-house composting of poultry litter, and their integration into systems of treatment technologies. Second, investigations will be conducted to develop thermochemical technologies and practices for improved conversion of manure into heat, power, biofuels, and biochars. Manure based feedstocks for thermochemical conversion will be evaluated. Improved methods to condition manures for biochar and combustible gas production using pyrolysis will be determined. An efficient carbonization process for production of manure biochars with specific composition and properties for beneficial use will be developed. Third, research will be conducted to develop guidelines to more effectively manage and minimize nitrous oxide emissions from poultry and swine manure impacted riparian buffer zones and treatment wetlands. Fourth, we will develop beneficial uses for manure byproducts. These include the use of manure biochars as adsorbants for gaseous and aqueous contaminants, as soil amendments to improve physical and chemical properties, and as fertilizer source for crop production. Results from this project will advance the state of the science for more effective animal waste treatment and implementation of environmentally safe alternatives to traditional land application.


3. Progress Report:
This project reached its term date and it was continued on a bridging project pending the completion of new location’s National Program Project implementation. Project summary report: Results from this project advanced the state of the science for more effective animal waste treatment and environmentally safe technology alternatives to traditional land application of animal waste. 1) Improved treatment technologies to better manage manures from swine, poultry, and dairy operations were developed to reduce emissions of odors, pathogens, ammonia, and greenhouse gases as well as to maximize nutrient recovery. These technologies and their integration into treatment/handling systems include improved solid liquid separation for recovery of organic materials from diluted swine manure, enhanced biological nitrogen manure treatment by anaerobic ammonia oxidation, recovery of ammonia nitrogen from manure using gas permeable membranes, recovery in concentrated form of phosphorus from solid manure and municipal biosolids, and in-house windrowing of poultry litter. 2) Thermochemical technologies and practices were assessed and developed for improved conversion of manures into heat, power, biofuels, and biochars. Different manure-based feedstocks and their blends were evaluated for thermochemical conversion. Improved methods to pyrolyze manures were investigated for biochar and combustible gas production. Pyrolysis of swine manure solids blended with plastic mulch wastes produced combustible gas with heating values much higher than natural gas and enabled an energetically sustainable pyrolysis process. Hydrothermal carbonization consisting of heating wet manure under pressure produces a carbonaceous solid (hydrochar) without the need to dry the feedstock prior to thermal treatment. 3) Microbial populations found in riparian buffer and depressional wetland soils were characterized to determine if microbial community structures could be linked to the bacterial process of incomplete denitrification of nitrate nitrogen. With complete denitrification, nitrate is reduced into innocuous nitrogen gas but incomplete denitrification leads to production of nitrous oxide gas, a potent greenhouse gas. Quantitative DNA analysis results identified spatial relationships between soil series, site location, and abundance of the gene encoding the nitrous oxide reductase enzyme. These relationships could be used to infer propensity of wetland soils to incomplete denitrification -- leading to nitrous oxide emissions -- and help to manage soils to minimize off-site impacts of manure applications to crops and pastures. 4) Development of beneficial uses for manure byproducts. An efficient carbonization process was developed for production of both manure-based biochars and hydrochars with specific compositions and properties for the following beneficial uses: as adsorbants for gaseous and aqueous contaminants, as soil amendments to improve physical and chemical properties, for soil carbon sequestration, and as nutrient source for crop production. Laboratory and greenhouse experiments using biochars manufactured to match specific soil limitations showed biochars can play a role as amendments for improving soil fertility, increasing soil moisture retention, and reducing soil compaction. Soil application of swine manure hydrochar improved soil nutrient contents, yet prevented nutrient leaching, making it environmentally suitable as soil amendment. Manure-based biochar removed gaseous ammonia with efficiencies comparable to commercial activated carbon.


4. Accomplishments
1. Manure-based biochar soil amendments: effect on microbial communities. Agriculture in the southeastern coastal plain must often contend with typical low water holding capacity and low fertility soils. These soil conditions lead to both low retention of nutrients and poor soil health which result in low crop yields. To address this problem, ARS researchers at the Florence, South Carolina, location, in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, assessed the effect of amending two representative soils of the coastal plain (Norfolk and Coxville) with manure-based biochars, a by-product of thermal treatment of manure. The researchers looked into microbial community composition – as a positive indicator of soil health - to determine the impact of biochar amendment to each soil type. Results demonstrated significant shifts in microbial community composition in response to biochar amendment. The degree of the shift was correlated with soil type, with microbial community composition changes being greater in Norfolk soils as compared to Coxville soils. Additionally, these shifts in microbial communities correlated with availability of nutrients such as phosphorus provided by biochar application. These results indicate that manure-based biochars can play a positive role in improving biological properties that can lead to healthier, more fertile soils.


5. Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations:
None.


Review Publications
Karunanithi, R., Szogi, A.A., Bolan, N., Naidu, R., Ok, Y., Krishnamurthy, S., Seshadri, B. 2016. Phosphorus recovery from wastes. In: Prasad, M.N.V., and Shih, K. editors. Environmental Materials and Waste: Resource Recovery and Pollution Prevention. London, UK: Academic Press/Elsevier. p.687-705.

Fang, J., Gao, B., Zimmerman, A.R., Ro, K.S., Chen, J. 2016. Physically (CO2) activated hydrochars from hickory and peanut hull: preparation, characterization, and sorption of methylene blue, lead, copper, and cadmium. Royal Society of Chemistry Advances. 65:24906-24911.

Ro, K.S. 2016. Kinetics and energetics of producing animal-manure-based biochar. BioEnergy Research. 9:447-453.

Wang, Z., Han, L., Sun, K., Jin, J., Ro, K.S., Libra, J.A., Liu, X., Xing, B. 2015. Sorption of four hydrophobic organic contaminants by biochars derived from maize straw, wood dust and swine manure at different pyrolytic temperatures. Chemosphere. 144:285-291. doi: org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2015.08.042.

Sun, K., Kang, M., Ro, K.S., Libra, J., Zhao, Y., Xing, B. 2015. Variation in sorption of propiconazole with biochars: The effect of temperature, mineral, molecular structure, and nano-porosity. Chemosphere. 142:56-63. doi: org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2015.07.018.

Lima, I.M., Ro, K.S., Reddy, G.B., Boykin, D.L., Klasson, K.T. 2015. Efficacy of chicken litter and wood biochars and their activated counterparts in heavy metal clean up from wastewater. Agriculture. 5(3):806-825.

Ro, K.S., Lima, I.M., Reddy, G.B., Jackson, M.A., Gao, B. 2015. Removing gaseous NH3 using biochar as an adsorbent. Agriculture. 5:991-1002. doi: 10.3390/agriculture5040991.

Reddy, G., Raczkowski, C.W., Cyrus, J.S., Szogi, A.A. 2016. Carbon sequestration in surface flow constructed wetland after 12 years of swine wastewater treatment. Water Science and Technology. 73(10):2501-2508. doi:10.2166/wst2016.112.

Dube, P.J., Vanotti, M.B., Szogi, A.A., Garcia-Gonzalez, M.C. 2015. Enhancing recovery of ammonia from swine manure anaerobic digester effluent using gas-permeable membrane technology. Waste Management. 49:372-377.

Ducey, T.F., Novak, J.M., Johnson, M.G. 2015. Effects of biochar blends on microbial community composition in two Coastal Plain soils. Agriculture. 5:1060-1075.

De Pra, M., Kunz, A., Bortoli, M., Scussiato, L., Coldebella, A., Vanotti, M.B., Soares, H. 2015. Kinetic models for nitrogen inhibition in ANAMMOX and nitrification process on deammonification system at room temperature. Water Research. 202: 33-41.