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ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Livestock Nutrient Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #385018

Research Project: Improved Practices to Conserve Air Quality, Maintain Animal Productivity, and Enhance Use of Manure and Soil Nutrients of Cattle Production Systems for the Southern Great Plains

Location: Livestock Nutrient Management Research

Title: Biogas production with beef cattle manure and wastewater from hydraulic fracturing

item Thompson, Terra
item RHOADES, MARTY - West Texas A & M University
item Parker, David
item BLASER, BROCK - West Texas A & M University

Submitted to: Transactions of the ASABE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/10/2021
Publication Date: 2/10/2022
Citation: Campbell, T.N., Rhoades, M.B., Parker, D.B., Blaser, B.C. 2022. Biogas production with beef cattle manure and wastewater from hydraulic fracturing. Transactions of the ASABE. 65(1):113-121.

Interpretive Summary: Horizontal drilling wastewater from oil and gas operations, and manure from beef feeding operations are two of the largest sources of waste in the Texas Panhandle. The potential exists that these wastes could be used as sources for natural gas generation. However, knowledge of the feasibility of such generation is lacking. Scientists from West Texas A&M University and ARS (Bushland, Texas) conducted laboratory experiments to determine the optimum ratio of beef cattle manure and drilling wastewater, well water, or diluted drilling wastewater for natural gas production. The experiments indicated that energy can be generated with these waste sources, but that the most gas was generated with a combination of well water and manure. Diluting the drilling wastewater with well water is the best option for generating energy with drilling wastewater. These results are of interest to both agricultural and energy-producing stakeholders.

Technical Abstract: Wastewater from hydraulic fracturing (HF) and manure from beef cattle production are two of the largest waste streams in the Texas Panhandle. The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential of generating biogas, a renewable natural gas, from the combination of HF wastewater and beef manure through anaerobic digestion (AD) at varying moisture contents. In a laboratory study, substrate combinations of manure mixed with produced and flowback water (PFW), well water (WW), and a 50/50 mix of the two, were evaluated at four moisture contents (MC; 65, 70, 80, and 90%). Beef manure was harvested from the West Texas A&M University Research Feedlot. The PFW was collected from a HF operation in the Texas Panhandle. Substrate combinations of manure and WW at 90% MC yielded the greatest amount of biogas and methane (CH4). The greatest amount of biogas and CH4 produced with manure in combination with PFW was at 65% MC. This combination produced 57% less biogas than the optimum CH4 producing WW treatment. Diluting PFW with WW produces comparable amounts of CH4 to WW at 80% MC. While there is potential to generate biogas and methane with PFW and manure, more research is needed to isolate the CH4 inhibiting constituents in PFW.