The production and use of commercial fertilisers and animal waste is contributing significantly to global warming and the pollution of our aquatic environment. Yet global food and bioenergy supplies are highly dependent on animal waste. The Department of Agriculture and Ecology at LIFE - Faculty of Life Sciences at University of Copenhagen - is now directing massive resources at the development of sustainable animal waste technologies.
Danish research and industry are leading the field internationally within the development of environmental technologies, but there is still a lack of R&D in integrated system solutions for livestock and crop production. In collaboration with key Danish research environments and enterprises, Professor Lars Stoumann Jensen from the Faculty of Life Sciences (LIFE) has successfully secured a number of R&D grants for projects which all focus on the improved handling and utilisation of animal waste.
Waste is a valuable resource
- We see organic waste and waste products from towns and agriculture as a useful resource which is suitable, for example, for use as fertiliser and for energy. Consequently, we will develop sustainable solutions to a range of global and local challenges, says Lars Stoumann Jensen from the Department of Agriculture and Ecology at LIFE.
Both in Denmark and abroad, livestock production is moving towards more intensive and industrial production units. It will therefore be possible to handle animal waste to a greater extent using advanced environmental technology.
Animal waste technologies with worldwide applications
- Our research focuses on both intensive, industrial agricultural production such as that found in Denmark, but also on small-scale production in the developing countries where the environmental problems are mounting hand in hand with intensifying production," continues Lars Stoumann Jensen. He is now launching a major research project in Vietnam where, rather than posing an environmental threat, animal waste needs to be treated as a valuable resource which can be used as a basis for biogas production. Using animal waste for biogas plants will reduce CO2 emissions, increase the availability of nutrients in the waste and improve hygiene conditions in relation to handling.
New textbook on the way
At the same time, there is a big need internationally for education in sustainable animal waste technology. LIFE and the University of Southern Denmark, one of the key players in several of the projects, have successfully obtained funding from two private foundations to publish an international textbook on the subject. The textbook is expected to be published in 2011.
Sustainable animal waste technology is being developed as a system concept which integrates reductions in the emissions of organic substances with the production of bioenergy and commercial fertiliser.
This results in the following:
- more effective manure separation
- the removal and utilisation of ammonia from the liquid fraction
- thermal energy production from the dry fraction
- upgrading the dry fraction and ash to fertiliser.
R&D projects involving the development of sustainable animal waste technologies:
- CLEANWASTE (Danish Council for Strategic Research, DSF)
- SUSANE (Danida, FFU)
- OrgNutriWaste (EU)
- PATHOS (DSF)
- Biowaste Technology Textbook (Hoffmannsgaves Fond & Industriens Fond)