Thermal stripping – acid absorption is a novel technology recently developed to recover ammonia as marketable ammonium sulfate granules from anaerobic digester effluent. Taking a large-size dairy farm in New York State, USA, as an example, this study evaluates the costs and benefits of ammonia recovery from a recirculation line of mesophilic anaerobic digesters. Option 1 is the baseline without ammonia recovery. Option 2 is to draw digester effluent at 28% of the liquid manure loading rate, heat to 101 °C for ammonia recovery, and return the ammonia-recovered dairy manure to the digesters. Under option 2, the returned hot manure eliminates the need to heat the digesters. Option 3 is similar to Option 2, but the recirculation rate is only 14% of the manure loading rate. In this case, additional heating is needed for the digesters. Engineering unit cost and revenue models are developed for the thermal stripping – acid absorption process. Options 2 and 3 have benefit/cost ratios of 1.90 and 1.86, respectively. Option 2 produces greater net present value (NPV) ($1.34 million) than Option 2 ($0.72 million), while Option 1 yields a negative NPV (−$0.23 million). Ammonia recovery on this farm can create 1.5–3 jobs. Labor costs account for 62–70% of the total operating costs. Option 2 can generate a benefit of $0.018/L manure digestate or $0.50/d/cow. Any uncertainties relating to NPV and benefit/cost ratio are mainly associated with the sale price of ammonium sulfate and hourly wage rate.
Cost benefit assessment of a novel thermal stripping – acid absorption process for ammonia recovery from anaerobically digested dairy manure
Sohaib Waseem Anwar, Wendong Tao; Cost benefit assessment of a novel thermal stripping – acid absorption process for ammonia recovery from anaerobically digested dairy manure. Water Practice and Technology 1 June 2016; 11 (2): 355–364. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wpt.2016.041
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