I think most of us(not vegetarians) like to a eat a good juicy and crispy pork barbecue. But we don’t really think how the meat comes into our homes or what are the real side effects of pig farms on the environment. Hog farms, where thousands of animals are raised, look really horrible and they pollute rivers, poison groundwater supplies and release clouds of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
When you think of it, this is a real mess and generates a lot of problems. Scientists have been developing lots of ways to transform the slurry into something useful for people (like electricity) but there has not been any real invention that was concentrated to get a lower impact on the environment. None of the developments had a real success as there is yet no measure that can reduce the greenhouse gas effects.
A Danish team of scientists has started to make an analysis on the various ways of generating electricity from pig manure. Two of the most important systems were analyzed in details: anaerobic digestion and incinerators. The anaerobic digestion has a very simple principle: waste material is broken down by bacteria in an oxygen-free vessel, releasing methane which is used in gas turbines. Incinerators only burn material to boil water and drive a steam turbine.
After seeing all the facts, the team decided that anaerobic digestion is the answer to turn stinking pig manure into electricity. Trakarn Prapaspongsa, the leader of the Danish team says that this is the best solution only to generate more electricity. In order to minimize greenhouse gas emissions, the best option was to separate the solid from the liquid waste, dry the solids and incinerate them.
As pig manure is becoming a real nightmare, I think that developments in this area will not stop here. For sure, a solution will be found to have both the advantages combined into a single system.