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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Macias-corral, Maritza
item Samani, Zohrab
item Hanson, Adrian
item Dela Vega, Raymond
item Funk, Paul

Submitted to: Transactions of the ASAE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2005
Publication Date: 6/1/2005
Citation: Macias-Corral, M.A., Samani, Z.A., Hanson, A.T., Dela Vega, P., Funk, P.A. 2005. Producing energy and soil amendment from dairy manure and cotton gin waste. Transactions of the ASAE. 8(4):1521-1526.

Interpretive Summary: This manuscript reports research conducted with a prototype two-phase anaerobic digester. Methane (natural gas) production and concentration, chemical oxygen demand and volatile fatty acid formation are presented over time. Other operating parameters are also provided from this real-world operation of a novel waste treatment system. Combining the waste streams of the dairy and cotton ginning industries serves both industries' disposal needs. At the same time, it results in a soil amendment that is safe to apply to food crops, and a renewable domestic energy source. The dairy manure has nitrogen and bacteria needed by the process. Cotton gin trash supplies carbon and a chemical that disinfects manure pathogens. Together these feed stocks make more gas per volume of digester, improving system economics.

Technical Abstract: Millions of tonnes of feedlot manure and cotton gin waste are generated in the United States each year. Dairy and feedlot operations in New Mexico produce 1.2 million tonnes of manure annually. Traditionally, manure has been used as a soil amendment in agriculture. However, land application of manure is limited in New Mexico due to problems with salinity, potential groundwater contamination, and limited availability of agricultural land. Waste treatment alternatives are sought. A two-phase anaerobic digestion system was used to evaluate the feasibility of producing methane and soil amendment from mixed agricultural wastes. Cotton gin waste and dairy manure were combined and used as feedstock. Under mesophilic conditions, 48% of the combined waste was converted into biogas. The gas yield was 87m3 of methane per tonne of mixed waste. Methane concentration in the biogas averaged 72%. Gas production with mixed waste increased 35% compared to digesting dairy waste alone. Nutrient analyses of the residuals showed that they could be used as soil amendments. Residual solid material from the two-phase anaerobic digester had a considerably higher nitrogen and lower sodium content than aerobically composted manure. Anaerobic digestion lasted from one to three months and required 0.15 m3 of water per 1 m3 of waste. Aerobic composting of similar waste in New Mexico takes eight to nine months and consumes 1.2 m3 of water per 1 m3 of waste.

Last Modified: 05/24/2017
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