In one of my earlier blogs this year, I mentioned the advantages of a manure fermentation system with daily manure removal, and what our plans are in this area. Daily manure removal is not only better for animals, people and the environment; it is also more economical, because when you remove manure on a daily basis, you can extract no less than 50m3 of biogas from 1m3 of manure as opposed to the usual 10m3 yield. This biogas can then be used on site to generate a large proportion of the electricity and heat needed to run the farm, which constitutes a major saving – all the more reason to give this project a kick-start!
By September, all the formalities had been taken care of, and we received the fantastic news that we had been granted the 200,000-euro subsidy we needed! We are therefore pleased to be able to announce that we will be commissioning the digester and the cogenerator later this month for installation in early 2016, so they are fully operational by the spring.
Naturally, we haven’t been idle in the meantime. Daily manure removal in a brand-new pig barn is a great goal to strive for, but we could achieve a whole lot more if this were also to become an option for existing pig barns. This is because, currently, a new pig barn is not a realistic option for the majority of us on account of difficult financing conditions and complex regulations. A more realistic option would therefore be to take a detailed look at existing pig barns and modify them for daily manure removal.
We believe this could be achieved at pig farms whose barns are equipped with sewage systems and/or manure cellars with separate manure and water channels.
In these types of barns, daily manure removal can be facilitated by separating the digested manure into thick and thin fractions. An ammonia stripper is used to extract the ammonia from a fifth of the thin fraction so it can be used as a rinsing fluid. The manure can then also be rinsed from the pits on a daily basis.
Ammonia reduction and natural energy-saving
We will initially be attempting this in our existing pig barns on our demo farm in Valkenswaard, and hope to achieve positive results there in terms of ammonia reduction and energy-saving. Our ultimate goal is still to facilitate energy-neutral pig farming, and new buildings are an advantage, but not a necessity.