BioCover – Manure Acidification
BioCover is a Danish company founded in 2009 because the Danish government tightened requirements on the agriculture industry related to ammonia losses. The legislation required that manure slurry had to be injected or acidified when applied to reduce emissions.
Driven by the legal requirements, BioCover developed the SyreN with the idea that by capturing ammonia they could profitably increase crop yield and reduce fertilizer costs. Once the system was tested, it proved to be able to capture 70 % of ammonia that used to be lost and to convert it into stable, plant available ammonium form. Furthermore, because the system uses sulfuric acid it provides a source of Sulfur as plant available sulfate. The acidification technology also increases phosphorus plant availability in slurry up to 40 % by breaking the calcium phosphate bindings, further reducing fertilizer costs and enabling slurry to be used as a starter fertilizer for maize.
The original SyreN system is developed for acidification during application. Acidification may also be performed in a storage facility. For this purpose, BioCover has developed Changes that performs acidification while mixing the slurry in a storage facility. This version of the technology has the additional benefit of inhibiting Methane gas emission from 60- to 90% and ammonia emission by 70 %. This version of the technology must be performed several times during the filling of the storage facility – either concrete or lagoon type. Depending on the sizes of the storage, the field version- or a semi-truck trailer version with an acid tanker is used.
In addition to the acidification technology which controls the pH, the SyreN+ system was developed. This system adds the capacity to inject anhydrous ammonia into the slurry as it is being loaded into the slurry tanker. Since the increased pH from ammonia gas injection can be lowered again by use of acid during application- or by injection the slurry into the soil, there are no losses by ammonia emissions. By using the SyreN+ system, the farmer can design his need for N:P ratio to match his crop needs and obtain a balanced and sustainable use of organic fertilizer.
BioCover has a complete acidification system that can be utilized in a variety of ways for adding acid and anhydrous ammonia to slurry:
Adding sulphuric acid to manure slurry during application to reduce ammonia emission. The SyreN system is a mobile acidification system for manure. Sulphuric acid that is used to reduce the pH of the slurry, is stored in an IBC tank, which in turn is stored in a collision-proof cage on the front of a tractor. The acid is added to the slurry during application which reduces the acid consumption to a minimum required by the liquid fraction of the slurry.
Adding sulphuric acid to manure during storage. Changes is designed to reduce both Methane- and ammonia gasses. By periodic acidification according storage seize and need, the pH is kept below 6, which effectively inhibits Methane bacteria activity. Repeated treatments during the storage period is needed and Changes uses either SyreN- or a semi-trailer truck with a crane arm- or a floating agitator platform to perform the needed mixing of the slurry during the acidification. Smaller storage tanks can use the IBC acid storage capacity and larger lagoons have the benefit of a large semi tanker truck acid holding capacity. For all types, a very high agitation capacity is required.
The Changes technology is monitored through a permanent pH sensor installed in the slurry storage facility. This automatically communicates the need for further acidification and serves to document the reduction of GHG gasses. It is also used for issue of CO2 credit quota, creating a new source of income for the farm. This enables legal compliance for the coming methane gas reduction requirements.
Adding anhydrous ammonia to slurry during application. Designer slurry is the ability to create the perfect N:P ration in the slurry and customize the slurry nutrient contend. SyreN´s ability to stop emissions enables the addition of anhydrous ammonia and converts it to valuable ammonium salt. This combines the application of ammonium and slurry – N:P:S – into one application and reduce field traffic and compaction. This reduces cost by lowering the purchase price for mineral fertilizer and by reducing passing of the field with one operation.
The e-missioN system is a new technology for liquid organic slurry application. The core of the technology is a database of more than 10,000 ammonia emission trails in all EU countries and North America. Utilizing this database and a specialized set of sensors, the e-missioN system measures all the parameters that causes volatility of the slurry. The data from the e-missioN system can be used for different purposes – on board the slurry tanker and after the application. I can serve as a nitrogen loss-monitor for a slurry tanker, a dose rate indicator for mineral nitrogen use, automatic fertilizer accounting and to provide documentation for sustainable use of slurry / mineral fertilizer.
The e-missioN system can be integrated in SyreN System and is also available as a stand alone system for all makes of slurry tankers. The integrated System, is approximately half the price since many of the sensors are already fitted on the base SyreN platform.
Technology Strengths, Weaknesses and Critical Indicators
NOTE: There are multiple technologies that are used as part of integrated manure management systems and yet are not manure management types on their own. The impact of these technologies on their own would be minimal or very difficult to quantify.
General Support & Other:
- Can be an integral part of many manure management systems
- Most projects have at least some equipment that supports operations of the main technology
- This technology is not evaluated on its own, the NEAT Matrix for this technology is neutral unless utilized with other technologies.
Manure acidification is not a practice that has seen significant adoption in the U.S. but does represent an opportunity to reduce GHG and ammonia emissions from manure storage and application.
The BioCover SyreN, SyreN Changes, and SyreN+ systems represent a technology suite that would offer a way to significantly reduce emissions before, during and after field application.
The BioCover technology has not been evaluated using Newtrient's 9-point scoring process because, although their process is designed for use on dairy manure, it does not have any current dairy based projects in North America. BioCover has recently been added to the technology catalog because of their interest in entering the U.S. market. Newtrient will continue to work with BioCover as they are currently looking for a partner dairy to demonstrate the SyreN, SyreN Changes, and SyreN+ systems to the U.S. dairy industry.
1. OPERATIONAL HISTORY