Dairy Manure Teatment Using Algae - interesting experiment

Use of algae in field other than energy - as fertilizer, food, cattlefeed...

Dairy Manure Teatment Using Algae - interesting experiment

Postby cacofonix » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:03 pm

An alternative to land spreading of manures is to grow crops of algae on the nitrogen and phosphorus present in the manure. Compared to terrestrial plants, filamentous algae have exceedingly high growth and nutrient uptake rates. Moreover, they are capable of year-round growth in temperate climates, can be harvested on adapted farm-scale equipment, and yield a valuable biomass. The primary objective of this research was to evaluate and develop one method of growing filamentous algae (an algal turf scrubber (ATS)) to remove nitrogen, phosphorus and soluble carbon from dairy manure. Laboratory scale experiments were conducted using natural mixtures of algae that were fed diluted dairy manure. Results from nutrient balance results show that most of the manure nitrogen, and nearly all of the manure phosphorus, was taken up by the algae. Results from these experiments are important because they show for the first time that dairy manure contains all of the necessary nutrients needed for algae growth in this type of system. In addition, the nutrient balance results show that manure nitrogen and phosphorus are effectively captured in this system. The resulting algal biomass may find use as a protein supplement to animal feed, a feedstock for biodiesel, or as a source of biocontrol agents for plant pathogens.

More from the Oilgae Blog post here
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Re: Dairy Manure Teatment Using Algae - interesting experiment

Postby guru » Thu Feb 05, 2009 4:19 pm

A company called Sustainable Conservation is also investigating the possibility to use algae to treat diary waste. They call it as Aquatic Cropping Systems. They say Converting the nitrogen and phosphorus in manure into algal biomass increases the value and manageability of the nutrients.
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Re: Dairy Manure Teatment Using Algae - interesting experiment

Postby cacofonix » Sat Feb 14, 2009 10:10 pm

You are right, Guru...I read too about the fact that using algae to absorb the nutrients and then using the algae meal as fertilizer is a better way to use the fertilizer potential of the dairy waste
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Re: Dairy Manure Teatment Using Algae - interesting experiment

Postby DR Johansen » Sat Feb 14, 2009 10:55 pm

There was just a post on either "our" blog, or the NewNergy blog that discussed an african gent who had a great system.

Waste >> Anaerobic Digester >> methane + effluenent
effluent + athmospheric CO2 + sunlight >> algae pond >> animal feed.
Animal feed >> animal >> waste + animal products (food, leather...)

repeat forever.

Gozintas = sunlight and CO2
Getzoutas = methane + animal products.

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Re: Dairy Manure Teatment Using Algae - interesting experiment

Postby ABERT » Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:04 am

Back in 1977, I developed a concept called "Full Cycle Energy Utilization" which was based on using clean, carbon free geothermal energy as a power source for an agribusiness industrial complex. It involved a Geo-power center to provide both electric and thermal energy. The biofuel complex centered around an anaerobic methane digester using a cattle feedlot waste stream as its primary feedstock. See FCEU lower right side at: http://sustainable-lake-county-oregon.com/aboutus.aspx

The concept also involved the use of geothermal energy in the distillation of grain into alcohol again using the thermal energy to increase yield of the mash. That waste product, “distillers dry grain stock” I saw going to a feed mill which would create a cattle feed in combination with a radical approach to alfalfa harvesting using geothermal dehydration. This would allow us to ship the equivalent of three truck and trailer loads of alfalfa out of south eastern Oregon to the dairy farmers in California on one truck. And the value of the feed product was increased as a value added, and branded product.

The Full Cycle concept also involved a cattle processing facility to increase the return to the local rancher and employ local people in the production of a finished product. Again we could ship three times the pounds of boxed beef on a truck as compared to shipping live cows…….. The waste products off the meat processing would create some other industries like the leather products and glues, while the rest went into the methane system to increase production of that bio-fuel.

Later, in about 2000, I realized the value of combining the algae into this system to use the CO2 and effluent stream available off of the methane production.

In December of this year I was approached by a Professor to help site an algae based biofuel plant using a DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement for an, “Integrated Biorefinery Operation” . The grant application would have been made by a major Oregon University.

I ended up identifying two ranches consisting of about 4500 acres that were ideal for the Universities needs. There had been work done by the State of Oregon that shows that there may be an excellent geothermal resource on the ranches.

Given a geothermal resource that generated electric power and thermal energy then the concept to create an algae based biorefinery maked sense to me and I saw an opportunity to incorporate at least part of the “Full Cycle” concept into this pilot plant.

A second University Professor, the algae expert, backed out of supporting the Universities Grant Application at the last minute, thereby killing the application which was probably for the best since they were asking for $17,000,000 for a system they projected would produce a whopping 143 gallons of biofuel per acre.

The professor refused to consider that in this FOA for an "Integrated Biorefinery" they had the opportunity to develop a real world system. Their concept was we will buy our CO2 and nutrients and have them trucked in.... They refused to consider any other alternatives that would have strengthened their chances of getting a grant and actually producing a study that would be relevant to commercialization. The project should have included some other elements that would have made a great deal of difference in the profitability of the system like using the geothermal to keep the algae ponds warm..

Or the fact that twenty five miles away is a 10,000 head cattle feedlot that is having trouble getting rid of its waste. The rancher who owns the property I identified already has a feed lot for his 1000 ? head of cattle. An anaerobic methane digester system is, (or can be) really low tech... a holding pond with a large cover over it and sealed on the sides.... The waste product of methane production is CO2, a great liquid fertilizer and a sludge.

I tried to point out why I wanted to include an anaerobic methane digester.

Algae use CO2 to grow. The Prof wanted to "find a source of CO2 and truck it in. Raw methane is about 60% methane and 40% CO2... The CO2 is "scrubbed" by a simple off the shelf process and fed to the algae. The gas is compressed and sold as an "Organic Propane" OR... Given the geothermal, carbon free, low cost electric we could use a very efficient process to "break" the methane into Hydrogen and CO2 for another potential biofuel!

Liquid Fertilizer?? Algae love the nutrients in cow manure! The big plus here is that the geothermal increases production of the methane digester by 35% by using the hot water energy to keep the digester warm rather than burning the methane for heat... Now our Algae farm has both food and CO2 required to grow our crop for "free" and we have sequestered the CO2 from the digestion process......... Oh, by the way the liquid could be also used in ranch sprinkler systems as high quality fertilizer for alfalfa after filtering...

BUT WAIT............. THERE'S MORE !! The Prof had no concept of what he was going to do with the waste product of the algae biofuel refinery which is called "Algae Cake". This is a high protein food supplement that could be dehydrated and possibly combined with alfalfa to produce a very good cattle feed for the cattle feed lot, that produces the cattle waste, that produces the methane gas, that produces the CO2 and food that we need for the Algae..

BUT WAIT... The Algae Cake could also be fed directly into the anaerobic digester as a feedstock to generate more methane and get rid of a waste product..............

BUT WAIT... We forgot the other waste product of the methane digestion process... the sludge. The Algae Cake could be combined with the sludge and dehydrated with the geothermal dryer system and sold as a "branded" organic garden fertilizer product like they do "steer manure" now.. High Desert Surf and Turf?

Bottom line is you almost have a perpetual motion process with the a geothermal power system and Algae to Animal Feed to waste to Algae feed which produces biodiesel, ethanol, methane, methanol and hydrogen. You also have organic animal feed products and organic fertilizer products to go to market.

You have carbon credits from the CO2 sequestering processes and you have purchased no CO2 or nutrients for your algae growth and you have done it all with carbon free, low cost geothermal energy!

I had the marketing plan down with the biodiesel and the "organic propane" being sold by a locally based fuel distributor in Northern California and Eastern Oregon. By the way Oregon has mandated 2% of all diesel sold this year must be biodiesel...

Anyone have ideas on how to make this better… Correct mistakes I made?

Anybody looking for a project?

Contact jc@sustainable-lake-county-oregon.com
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