Producing green energy from pig manure
Developing a new and practical system to manage pig manure more efficiently, as a means to significantly reduce NH3 emissions and produce green energy.
Despite the importance of the pig production sector in the Flemish economy, very often pig farms operate using outdated infrastructure. This results in significant NH3 emissions. In this particular case, the farmer wanted to achieve optimal production conditions that would improve the farm’s environmental performance. At the same time, investing in the production of renewable energy would lower the farm’s energy costs.
The farmer developed a system to quickly remove and separate the manure from the manure pit of a pigsty. This process reduces NH3 emissions significantly. The fresh manure is fed into a ‘pocket digester’ (a small-scale anaerobic digester) and this reduces the NH3 emissions even further. Then, the manure produces green electricity via a motor running on the gas produced in the digester. It is the first time in Flanders that pig manure is used as an input into a digester.
The investment in the manure pit resulted in a 50% reduction in NH3 emissions. The farm produces three Megawatt hours/year (3MWh) and fully covers its electricity needs. The electricity is produced by the ‘pocket digester’ which has the capacity to produce up to 25 Kilowatt-electric (kWe).