Ammonia capture tech in pig farming trial underway
Testing has begun as part of the PigProGrAm project which aims to reduce the environmental impact of emissions from livestock. Ammonia-harvesting technology was put in place at the pig farm running the trials.
The PigProGrAm scheme, backed by £600k of Government money, has brought farming and engineering expertise together to demonstrate a farm-focused solution for the harvesting of green ammonia from pig waste that could also lead to the creation of hydrogen, a valuable tool in the fight against climate change.
The research project team consists of a consortium of industry leaders; the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), Beta Technology, the University of Leeds, Duynie Feed, a commercial pig unit in North Yorkshire, and its newest partner Membracon who specialises in water treatment, clean water recycling and effluent solutions.
After installing the equipment in July, Amon Sohl from Membracon said: “Our Downflow Gas Contactor (DGC) is a patented, multiple award-winning technology that excels in a wide variety of gas separations applications, such as industrial carbon capture, as well as biogas enhancements.
“The DGC will be used on this ambitious project to help generate a route for the livestock sector to become truly sustainable; considering the true practices of a circular economy, while retaining a sound financial profile to continuing operations.”
Harvesting ammonia from pig waste means that ammonia emissions will be lower. In addition, the byproduct from the process creates a resource that can be used in several ways, such as producing a high quality fertiliser as well as potentially generating hydrogen.
Reducing ammonia emissions in the agriculture industry
Zanita Markham, projects and engagement relationship manager at AHDB, said: “We hope that the PigProGrAm project will be the first stage of a larger demonstration of the potential of this innovative approach to harvesting green ammonia from livestock and will contribute to the UK meeting its net-zero emission target.
“The project is a step forward in helping reduce the environmental impact of pig farms which not only enables us to keep meeting environmental targets but could have a significant positive impact on the public perception of pig farming.”
Agriculture is a major source of ammonia emissions which can impact negatively on biodiversity through nitrogen accumulation on land and acidification of water courses. This innovation is looking at multiple areas of pig production, including feed, to help create a more sustainable livestock industry in the UK.
The PigProGrAm – Developing a Circular Economy for UK Pig Production Through Green Ammonia Harvesting – project has received funding from the Government’s Farming Innovation Programme which supports ambitious projects to transform productivity and enhance environmental sustainability in England’s agricultural and horticultural sectors, whilst driving the sectors towards net zero. The funding is delivered by Defra in partnership with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).