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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effect of Wind Tunnel Air Velocity on VOC Flux from Standard Solutions and CAFO Manure/Wastewater)

item Parker, David
item Caraway, E
item Rhoades, M
item Cole, Noel - Andy
item Todd, Richard - Rick
item Casey, K

Submitted to: Transactions of the ASABE
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/21/2010
Publication Date: 6/28/2010
Citation: Parker, D.B., Caraway, E.A., Rhoades, M.B., Cole, N.A., Todd, R.W., Casey, K.D. 2010. Effect of Wind Tunnel Air Velocity on VOC Flux from Standard Solutions and CAFO Manure/Wastewater. Transactions of the ASABE. 53(3):831-845.

Interpretive Summary: Odor and the chemical compounds that cause odor are generated from animal manure, and are released to the atmosphere at animal feeding operations. Odor can be a nuisance to downwind neighbors, and some of the individual chemical compounds that cause odor are regulated by state and federal environmental agencies. Accurate estimation of odor and chemical compound emissions requires accurate measurement of the rate that these compounds leave the manure or wastewater surface. The devices used to directly measure emissions from manure or wastewater surfaces are wind tunnels and flux chambers. With these devices, clean air is passed over the manure surface, and the emission rate is calculated based on the air flow rate and the concentration leaving the device. In this research, we determined that wind speed was the most important factor affecting the emission rate of chemical compounds from manure. Emission rates increased with increasing wind speed. We determined that improper selection of wind speed could cause inaccurate emission estimates. If the wind speed was too low then the emission rate would be underestimated, and if the wind speed was too high then the emission rate would be overestimated. Emission rates of odor and the chemical compounds that cause odor were found to be closely related to the evaporation rate of water. A methodology was developed whereby wind velocity correction factors could be used to estimate accurate emission rates. This methodology can now be used by research scientists and regulatory personnel to accurately estimate emission rates of odor and the chemical compounds that cause odor at animal feeding operations.

Technical Abstract: Researchers and practitioners have used wind tunnels and flux chambers to quantify the flux of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide and estimate emission factors from animal feeding operations (AFOs) without accounting for effects of air velocity or sweep air flow rate. Laboratory experiments were conducted using a small rectangular wind tunnel (30.5 cm length, 15.2 cm width, 5.1 cm height). The objectives of the research were to (1) quantify the effect of wind velocity on VOC flux rates, (2) compare and contrast a two-film model with different wind speed corrections, and (3) provide insight into methods for either selecting appropriate wind tunnel velocities or conducting post-sampling wind velocity corrections to simulate field emission rates. Fluxes were measured on standard solutions and on manure/wastewater from beef cattle and dairy AFOs. Volumetric air exchange rates were varied between 0.6 and 44 exchanges per minute, corresponding to calculated longitudinal air velocities of 0.003 to 0.23 m s-1. Exhaust air was sampled using stainless steel sorbent tubes and analyzed for eleven volatile organic compounds comprised of seven volatile fatty acids (VFAs: acetic, propionic, isobutyric, butyric, isovaleric, valeric, and hexanoic) and four heavier molecular weight semivolatile organic compounds (sVOCs: phenol, p-cresol, indole, and skatole) using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Sulfur-containing VOCs were quantified using a portable total reduced sulfur meter. Flux rates for VOCs with small dimensionless Henry's law constants (i.e., those found at AFOs) increased with increasing air velocity. The two-film model with an experimentally derived reference gas-film transfer coefficient was found to reliably predict VOC flux at velocities between 0.003 and 0.23 m s-1. However, the two-film model did not reliably predict VOC flux with other air velocity correction formulae, an indication that flux is a function of wind tunnel geometry and turbulence factors, and not just average air velocity or sweep air flow rate. These results corroborate other studies that show that air velocity is a major factor affecting VOC fluxes from AFOs, verifying that an air velocity correction factor is required for estimating accurate VOC emission factors using wind tunnels and flux chambers.

Last Modified: 8/24/2016
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