April 19, 2014

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Converting Liquid Swine Manure Into Bio-oils and Hydrogen

Title: Converting Liquid Swine Manure Into Bio-oils and Hydrogen
PI(s) : Jun Zhu and Paul Chen (2005)
Dept :
Funding Source : IREE

On farm, liquid swine manure usually undergoes solids/liquid separation to generate two waste streams, i.e., solids and liquid. The researchers will investigate the feasibility of using two advanced techniques (pyrolysis and fermentation) to convert these two waste streams into biofuels.

Throughout the project, the separated solids will receive high-pressure pyrolysis treatment that breaks down the solids into two components, i.e., gases and liquids. The gases such produced will be subsequently cooled and condensed to produce light liquid bio-oil, while the non-condensable gases will be analyzed to determine the composition for further recovery of usable energy or chemical products. The pyrolysis liquid primarily containing sugars with hydrophobic materials (viscous oils) removed will join the solids-removed liquid as feedstock for fermentation to produce biohydrogen, which will be carried out in an anaerobic fermenter and built on the ongoing project funded early by IREE in biohydrogen production. Both treatment techniques will be optimized for maximal yield efficiency in terms of effectively converting swine manure to marketable end products (bio-fuels and biohydrogen). An add-on benefit of such treatment includes elimination of pathogens present in raw manure.

Besides, another technique, microwave pyrolysis, will also be tried out to determine its feasibility of processing dry swine manure solids into biofuels. Upon completion of this project, sufficient technical data are expected to be obtained that will significantly contribute to the knowledge reservoir in literature and pave the way for potential industrial adoption of these techniques to produce bio-based products from liquid swine manure at a practical scale; and for patent application. Additionally, a demonstration site for this project will be established at the UMN Southern Research and Outreach Center at Waseca for education and information dissemination.