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www.FarmProgress.com – January 2011
News & Issues
MANURE SYSTEM RETROFIT: The farm’s old calf-raising facilities were cleared away to make room for the solids-separating screw-press facility. Remaining effluent will be piped to the receiving station being built at the base of the reactor-to-be (right).
Manure to pay via credits C By JOHN VOGEL ONTRACTORS broke ground in November at Kreider Farms’ dairy facility at Manheim, Pa., to install an innovative $7.75-million nutrient manage- ment system to be paid for by nutrient, or manure, credits. The equipment and technology is owned by Colorado-based Bion Environmental Technologies.
Nutrient credits saved with the biolog- ical processing plant will be sold under Pennsylvania’s new nutrient-credit trading program. Bion will use those credits to pay off the 10-year state PENNVEST, or Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, loan.
Phase one construction is expected to be complete by March. The nutrient re- covery system fits into Kreider Farms’ ex- isting manure-handling schematics. Once it’s up and operating, manure from the re- maining dairy facilities is expected to be added into the system.
This farm’s manure handling system was a perfect site for the Bion project. “We’re not sand and we’re not flush,” ex- plains Ron Kreider, the farms’ president and CEO.
Turning manure credits to money In brief, manure from the 1,200-cow main freestall barn will be collected three to four times a day, and automatically put through a screw press to separate out cellulosic material. Liquids will flow to the farm’s 1-million-gallon concrete manure storage tank that will be modified and covered to serve as an aerobic microbial bioreactor.
In the patented process, microbes will aggregate and convert nitrogen and phos- phorus nutrients into particulate forms that’ll be centrifuged out, “with substantial reductions in nitrogen, phosphorus, am- monia and other greenhouse gases,” says Jeremy Rowland, Bion’s chief operating officer. The cellulosic biomass and other solids will be used for a yet-to-be-deter- mined renewable energy project.
Bion officials claim the process re- moves 70% of N and 75% of P from the waste stream, compared to none via anaer- obic digestion. The process also generates three to five greenhouse gas (methane)
FIT TO BE COVERED: This million-gallon manure storage structure is being retrofitted so aerobic microbes can filter out phosphorus and nitrogen.
Manure separation system costs to be recovered via nutrient credits.
Bacteria to help remove 70% of N and 75% of P from waste stream.
Technology plus credits can pay for themselves without subsidies.
State DEP Deputy Secretary John Hines noted that “Technology is the solution to the Chesapeake Bay’s tributary strategies. This is a game-changer, and the direction we need to go.”
State Ag Secretary Russell Redding pointed out that technological improve- ments must be economically justified at the farm level to be viable. “You don’t get clean water without viable farms.”
credits per cow, a 97% ammonia reduction plus an 80% reduction of hydrogen sulfide.
The phase one project may also yield up to 60,000 carbon credits, estimates Rowland. And he adds, “This technology can be installed and paid for without sub- sidies.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, or DEP, ap- proved the nutrient credit certification plan for recovering about 130,000 N credits and 16,250 P credits. Verified nutrient credits will then be sold to offset the discharges of regulated nitrogen sources (municipalities) facing much higher remediation costs, such as municipal wastewater treatment plants in the Susquehanna River watershed.
Game-changing innovation The Lancaster County facility was lauded by state agriculture and environmental of- ficials at the groundbreaking ceremony.
Pennsylvania State Sen. Michael Brubaker also strongly supported the project. The Senate Ag Committee chairman and soon-to-be chairman of the tri-state Chesapeake Bay Commission added: “We cannot fail to remove billions of pounds of nitrogen from our waters. This is one of the answers.”
Phase two plans for developing a cel- lulosic biomass renewable energy facility that incorporates Kreider Farms’ four poultry operations are under way. It would, according to Bion projections, take 4 mil- lion pounds of nitrogen out the local envi- ronment from about 4 million laying hens. Those nutrient credits would also be sold.
The bottom line is that the farm facility will help local municipalities comply with the increasingly restrictive nutrient man- agement regulations coming upriver from Washington, D.C.
For more details visit www.bionpa.com.