The role of anaerobic digestion in reducing dairy farm greenhouse gas emissions
journal contributionposted on 02.03.2021, 10:03 by Alun Scott, Richard Blanchard
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from dairy farms are significant contributors to global warming. However, much of the published work on GHG reduction is focused on either methane (CH4 ) or nitrous oxide (N2O), with few, if any, considering the interactions that changes to farming systems can have on both gases. This paper takes the raw data from a year of activity on a 300-cow commercial dairy farm in Northern Ireland to more accurately quantify GHG sources by use of a simple predictive model based on IPCC methodology. Differing herd management policies are examined together with the impact of integrating anaerobic digestion (AD) into each farming system. Whilst significant success can be predicted in capturing CH4 and carbon dioxide (CO2 ) as biogas and preventing N2O emissions, gains made can be lost in a subsequent process, negating some or all of the advantage. The process of extracting value from the captured resource is discussed in light of current farm parameters together with indications of other potential revenue streams. However, this study has concluded that despite the significant potential for GHG reduction, there is little incentive for widespread adoption of manure-based farm-scale AD in the UK at this time.
- Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering
- Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST)