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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Mississippi State, Mississippi » Crop Science Research Laboratory » Genetics and Sustainable Agriculture Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #214344

Title: Efffacy of activated carbon from broiler litter in the removal of litter generated ammonia

item Miles, Dana
item Lima, Isabel

Submitted to: International Symposium on Air Quality and Waste Management for Agriculture
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/15/2007
Publication Date: 9/16/2007
Citation: Fitzmorris, K.B., Miles, D.M., Lima, I.M. 2007. Efffacy of activated carbon from broiler litter in the removal of litter generated ammonia. Proceedings International Symposium on Air Quality and Waste Management for Agriculture. 701P0907 CD-ROM.

Interpretive Summary: Activated carbon made from broiler litter is effective for NH3 adsorption originating from litter. Broiler activated carbon performed better than commercial Vapure carbon in preliminary tests, but was comparable to the commercial carbon in the litter emission study. The results indicate the similarities of the carbons, though time plays a key role. This is important when examining the application of the carbon to actual broiler house emissions. In order to use this mechanism as a means for improving bird health by the reduction of ammonia in the houses, the carbon should be applied directly to the litter. However, if emissions standards are the primary concern, the carbon should be used via a filtration system at the air-flow exhausts of the houses. The cost-value comparison between the BAC and the commercial source is also a factor to be taken into consideration. The BAC represents the re-use of a waste material, deriving inherent value not only from its role as a carbon, but also as a disposal mechanism for the poultry waste itself. Though further investigations are needed and economics of scale-up must be derived, the research demonstrates the potential for litter reuse to treat the problem of NH3 emission to the environment and within broiler facilities.

Technical Abstract: Over the past 10 years, the production of broilers has increased by 29 percent to approximately 9 billion in 2005. Ammonia (NH3) pollution from broiler excreta is a primary concern for industry viability. The consequent rise in the manure/litter production rates requires innovative treatment options. This research focused on the use of broiler litter as activated carbon (BAC) to reduce aerial NH3 generated by litter, an opportunity to not only reuse the manure, but also treat the emissions from or within broiler houses. The use of activated carbon in the removal of NH3, specifically in broiler houses, has long been discarded primarily due to the high cost and low efficiency of the carbons. However, the study of BAC is a relatively new field that has focused on the removal of organics and/or metals from water. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of BAC to remove NH3 volatilized from litter samples in a laboratory acid-trap system. The BAC is a much cheaper alternative than commercially produced activated carbons. Preliminary studies using NH3/air mixture indicated that the BAC capacity to adsorb NH3 was approximately double that of Vapure 612, a commercial carbon. In the litter emission study, the BAC and Vapure performance was comparable in the early test stages. Breakthrough for both carbons occurred within 14 hours of the test start. At the end of the 3 day test, the ammonia emission for BAC was 75% of the litter only control, whereas, the Vapure emission was 64% of the control. The results of the study demonstrate the potential for a cyclical waste utilization strategy in using broiler litter activated carbon to capture NH3 volatilized from litter.