Impacts of manure spreading techniques on downwind air quality
Mentor: Dr. Shane Rogers
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Emissions of ammonia, nitrogen oxides, and particulates from agricultural feeding operations contribute significantly to green house gases inventories, and are of health concern. Additionally, bioaerosols were identified by the EPA as emerging contaminants of interest from animal feeding operations. Little information is available on emissions of these pollutants from mobile sources at dairy operations. Further, renewed interest in anaerobic digestion for biogas production requires better understanding of air emissions from digester effluent compared to untreated manure to improve lifecycle assessment inventories. Better characterization will aid in the development of science-based emission reduction targets for agricultural operations to improve air quality and protect human and environmental health. In this project, REU participants will work within a team of undergraduate and graduate researchers to characterize ammonia, particulate matter, and bioaerosols emissions, transport, and deposition from manure spreading equipment during and following application of raw manures and anaerobic digested manures to land. Students will incorporate results into transport models and evaluate the influence that anaerobic digestion of dairy manures has on emissions inventories during manure spreading. Students will gain expertise in air quality sampling techniques and advanced molecular microbial methods while contributing to an improved understanding of anaerobic digestion technologies as sustainable alternative energy sources.