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Alternative Uses For Animal Manure

By: Joe Brown
By: Joe Brown

“Number one, it has the nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, that you can use and that are needed by the plants. Number two; it adds organic matter to the soil, which is wonderful to build the structure of the soil. From that standpoint alone, manure is a wonderful resource and not a waste product.

Dr. Saqib Mukhtar is an agricultural engineer at Texas A&M and says composting manure adds value to it, but so does producing bio-gas.

“That is another alternative use, using bacteria that are naturally present in animal manure, the methanogens, to generate bio-gas.”

Bio gas can be used to produce electricity.

“Now we’re becoming very, very efficient in that area, and so you will see throughout the U.S. and in many other countries that these bio-gas generators are cropping up.”

But research at Texas A&M shows great promise as an additive when burning coal.

“If you’re using manure that already has nitrogen in it, and out of that nitrogen comes out ammonia, and if you’re using that ammonia, along with the burning of the coal, you can actually scrub, or take out the NOX. Now what is NOX? NOX is basically oxides of nitrogen, your nitric oxide, your nitrogen dioxide, some of the air pollutants that come out every time you burn a fossil fuel.”

Dr. Mukhtar expects real benefits from this research to be realized in the next five years.

“If our research at this scale and then at the larger scale of scrubbing NOX, SOX, which is SO2 and maybe even mercury from coal power plants, all of the sudden this may become an economically viable commodity, a valuable commodity.”

Who’d of guessed? I’m Joe Brown, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From the Ground Up.


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