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Biochar mitigates manure-related odours and emissions on pig farms


Source: Jennifer Shike, Farm Journal’s Pork, 19 November 2020, photo credit: BioChar News

Iowa State University researchers have shown that carbon-rich biochar could be used to mitigate many odors and potentially toxic volatile organic compounds emitted from swine manure.

“The results of this study and related research shows the potential to use biochar treatments to improve air quality inside barns, thus improving worker and animal safety, especially during manure agitation,” says Jacek Koziel, professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State University.

Biochar is obtained from a high-temperature process called pyrolysis of certain types of biomass and biowaste, according to an Iowa State University release. Researchers tested two types of biochar in this study: biochar from red oak and a highly alkaline, porous biochar made from corn stover.

Three 30-day trials were conducted with a thin layer of the biochars applied on the surface of swine manure collected from three Iowa farms. The manure was then placed in lab-scale containers simulating deep pit swine manure storage. The researchers then measured emissions of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, greenhouse gases and several odorous volatile organic compounds.
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