NUIG Sustainable Treatment Technologies

This project presents a novel additive treatment of farm slurry to (1) significantly reduce GHG and toxic gas (ammonia and hydrogen sulphide) emissions from milk production and during slurry storage, while (2) enhancing the value and energy potential of the treated slurry for anaerobic digestion and (3) providing an enhanced slurry-fertiliser for grass production, reducing the requirement for mineral fertilizer.

Application Of Manure On Arable Farmland With The Heavy Tractor

NUIG has developed Methanogen Inhibiting Reactive Species, which is an innovative platform technology to eliminate GHG emissions from organic residues and animal manures. Uniquely, the technology specifically inhibits methane-producing microbes and traps nitrogen in non-volatile forms, while allowing beneficial breakdown of manure solids and hygenisation of manure to proceed. The technology is added in
either capsule or liquid form.

In preliminary laboratory and pot-scale work carried out at NUIG, after 14 weeks of storage, treated dairy manures

– Had emitted over 98% less GHG than untreated controls
– Had an increased nitrogen content (up to 400% greater than untreated controls)
– Enhanced crop yields (by 15%) when used as a fertilizer in pot-trials
– Could displace chemical fertilizer (by 40%) compared to untreated controls
– Increased biogas output by 40% during AD, yielding major economic benefits.

The product is safe and generates no environmentally harmful residues and contains only food-safe ingredients.

The project conducted work to upscale the slurry treatments using facilities at Teagasc in Johnstown Castle. This facility allowed for replicated, control testing and generated data suitable for international publication. The project also involved using portable gas analysers to test treatments and controls at Shinagh Farm (a 220 cow dairy farm at Bandon, Co Cork).

The results of the trials showed:

– Treatments resulted in reductions of Methane (over 80%), Hydrogen Sulphide (up to 80%), Nitrous Oxide (85%) and Ammonia (50%).
– A modification of the treatment with the addition of calcium chloride significantly improved the effect of the treatment.
– The treatment was applied to the slurry tank at Shinagh Farm while cows were housed and fresh slurry continuously added.
– The additive technology does not fall under the Biocides Regulation, thereby allowing for the immediate roll out of the additive.
– The treatment enhances the value of slurry for downstream uses such as anaerobic digestion and use as a fertilizer.
– The first farm scale slurry trial did not allow for replication, but did scale well which gives a strong basis for optimism that further follow up
trial will provide more robust validation of the treatments for cattle slurry as a next step. Additional, independent trials will be carried out in
Denmark in keeping with accreditation protocols.

This project commenced in September 2020, and was completed in June 2022. The project is led by Prof Vincent O’Flaherty at NUIG and will
be commercialised by GlasPort Bio, a start-up from the university