Different approaches to assess the environmental performance of a cow manure biogas plant
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In intensive livestock production areas, farmers must apply manure management systems to comply with governmental regulations. Biogas plants, as a source of renewable energy, have the potential to reduce environmental impacts comparing with other manure management practices. Nevertheless, manure processing at biogas plants also incurs in non-desired gas emissions that should be considered. At present, available emission calculation methods cover partially emissions produced at a biogas plant, with the subsequent difficulty in the preparation of life cycle inventories. The objective of this study is to characterise gaseous emissions: ammonia (NH3-N), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2Oindirect, and N2Odirect) and hydrogen sulphide (H2S) from the anaerobic co-digestion of cow manure by using different approaches for preparing gaseous emission inventories, and to compare the different methodologies used. The chosen scenario for the study is a biogas plant located next to a dairy farm in the North of Catalonia, Spain. Emissions were calculated by two methods: field measurements and estimation, following international guidelines. International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines were adapted to estimate emissions for the specific situation according to Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 approaches. Total air emissions at the biogas plant were calculated from the emissions produced at the three main manure storage facilities on the plant: influent storage, liquid fraction storage, and the solid fraction storage of the digestate. Results showed that most of the emissions were produced in the liquid fraction storage. Comparing measured emissions with estimated emissions, NH3, CH4, N2Oindirect and H2S total emission results were in the same order of magnitude for both methodologies, while, N2Odirect total measured emissions were one order of magnitude higher than the estimates. A Monte Carlo analysis was carried out to examine the uncertainties of emissions determined from experimental data, providing probability distribution functions. Four emission inventories were developed with the different methodologies used. Estimation methods proved to be a useful tool to determine emissions when field sampling is not possible. Nevertheless, it was not possible to establish which methodology is more reliable. Therefore, more measurements at different biogas plants should be evaluated to validate the methodologies more precisely.
CitationTorrellas, M., Burgos, L., Tey, L., Noguerol , J., Riau, V., Palatsi, J., Antón, A., Flotats, X., Bonmatí, A. Different approaches to assess the environmental performance of a cow manure biogas plant. "Atmospheric environment", 2018, núm. 177, © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. See original paper at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2018.01.023, p. 203-213.