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Title: Particulate capture efficiency of a vegetative environmental buffer surrounding an animal feeding operation

item WILLIS, W - University Of Iowa
item ELCHINGER, W - University Of Iowa
item Prueger, John
item Hapeman, Cathleen
item LI, H - University Of Delaware
item BUSER, M - Oklahoma State University
item Hatfield, Jerry
item Wanjura, John
item Holt, Gregory
item TORRENTS, A - University Of Maryland
item PLENNER, S - University Of Iowa
item CLARIDA, W - University Of Iowa
item BROWN, S - University Of Iowa

Submitted to: Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/6/2017
Publication Date: 2/24/2017
Publication URL:
Citation: Willis, W., Elchinger, W., Prueger, J.H., Hapeman, C.J., Li, H., Buser, M., Hatfield, J.L., Wanjura, J.D., Holt, G.A., Torrents, A., Plenner, S., Clarida, W., Brown, S.D. 2017. Particulate capture efficiency of a vegetative environmental buffer surrounding an animal feeding operation. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. 240:101-108.

Interpretive Summary: Over 550 million broilers are produced on the Delmarva Peninsula annually. The birds are housed in poultry houses which are vented using large tunnel fans. The emissions from the houses contain ammonia, volatile organic compounds, and particulate matter which typically not filtered or mitigated. New awareness of the fate of these pollutants has caused producers to plant vegetative environmental buffers to capture the pollutants. However, the effectiveness of these buffers has not been determined. This study examines the fate of particulate matter moving from a tunnel fan through the buffer and to the surrounding area using a remote-sensing technique. Lidar engages a laser to illuminate the particles and then the reflected light is analyzed to determine the density of the particulate matter. Results showed that atmospheric conditions (wind speed/turbulents) affected the effectiveness of the buffer to capture particles more so than the distance from the fan to the vegetative environmental buffer. In calm conditions, the buffer captured nearly 70% of the particles, whereas in more turbulent conditions, efficiency decreased to approximately 20%. These results will be used by extension, USDA-NRCS, and producers to improve the effectiveness of these buffers.

Technical Abstract: Particulate matter emitted from tunnel-ventilated animal feeding operations (AFOs) is known to transport malodorous compounds. As a mitigation strategy, vegetative environmental buffers (VEBs) are often installed surrounding AFOs to capture particulates and induce lofting and dispersion. Currently, point measurements are the primary means by which VEB performance has been investigated. The existing techniques lack spatial and temporal resolution and fail to assign the observed particulate reduction to capture, lofting, or dispersion. This study presents a technique for estimating the capture efficiency of a VEB using lidar and attributes all observed reduction to particulate capture, thereby delineating the effects of capture and lofting. The experiments revealed a capture efficiency ranging from 21 to 74%. Instantaneous lidar scans showed periodic lofting well above the VEB, but when scans were averaged over several hours, the plumes appeared Gaussian. This paper documents experimental evidence quantifying the capture efficiency of a VEB. It also establishes an experimental framework for future studies on the efficacy of various emissions mitigation strategies.