Livestock Manure is Transformed Into a Bioresource Enriched With Carbon in Just One Day

May 01, 2024

A technology has been developed to quickly convert livestock manure, a significant issue in animal farming, into valuable "black gold" rich in carbon within a day.

Dr. Yoo Ji-ho and his research team from the Clean Air Research Laboratory of the Korea Institute of Energy Research (hereafter referred to as 'KIER') have developed a process that immediately converts livestock manure into biochar* at livestock farms. Using the process developed by the research team, it is possible to convert 10 tons of livestock manure into biochar in a single day.

As of 2022, the amount of livestock manure produced was about 50 million tons, of which 87% is used as compost and liquid fertilizer after being fermented over a long period. However, during this long treatment process, which can last more than 60 days, nitrous oxide (N2O), a greenhouse gas 300 times stronger than carbon dioxide, is emitted. Additionally, ammonia (NH3), which causes ultrafine dust and odors, is also released, accounting for 70% of the total emissions nationwide. This has led to persistent odor complaints, becoming a chronic problem for livestock farmers.

Biochar is gaining attention as an alternative solution to overcome these issues. Converting livestock manure into biochar not only completely prevents the emission of nitrous oxide and ammonia but also absorbs carbon from the air and can sequester it, making it a viable means to achieve carbon neutrality in the livestock sector. Consequently, the government has designated biochar as a core technology area for carbon neutrality in the livestock sector and plans to expand the use of biochar and improve manure management in livestock farms through the 'Livestock Sector 2030 Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Green Growth Strategy'.

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