Scientists from Ekogea have unearthed the powers of a kind of marine algae and seaweed solely discovered within the North Atlantic ocean.
Named ascophyllum nodosum, the seaweed is sustainably harvested from the Isle of Lewis within the Outer Hebrides.
It has been developed right into a product named BioComplex, which serves a organic enhancer used to speed up processes from plant root progress, by means of to bettering animal intestine well being.
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Its newest software is inside Ekogea’s sustainable farm slurry administration system, which is able to eradicating as much as 85% of the water quantity from pig and dairy slurry, and cleansing extracted water for reuse or discharge to sewers and waterways.
How does it work?
The course of begins with uncooked slurry from both pigs or dairy cattle, which is often pumped from their housing to a regular separator or screw press to take away the worst of the fibres bigger than 250μm (microns).
The solids extracted often equate to about 5% of the slurry’s authentic quantity, whereas the separated liquid slurry, which makes up the remaining 95%, is pumped to the concentrator to endure additional processing.
“The concentrator has a really particular course of that manages to steer simply the solids to come back out of the highest of the machine, and for the liquids to stay on the backside,” says director Ian Cain.
“This entails plenty of stirring, resting, and aeration.”
The course of removes 80-85% of the slurry’s water content material, producing a “strong” materials that also retains a lot of its authentic nutrient worth – together with phosphorous, potassium and nitrogen – however with simply 15% of its authentic quantity.
“Being in a position to de-water on this approach is absolutely efficient,” says Mr Cain. “You don’t lose an excessive amount of of the precious fertiliser content material into the water itself, however retain it within the ‘solids’ for spreading to the land as a fertiliser.”
How does the seaweed come into this?
One important advantage of the BioComplex additive is that it has cation-exchange capability.
This signifies that it is ready to change the construction of sure molecules, resembling hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, inside the slurry.
The atoms transfer from the ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, and grow to be ammonium, which is a nitrate, and elemental sulfur – each of that are extra plant accessible and fewer prone to be misplaced as gases.
So, when the BioComplex is added to the slurry concentrator, and even fed to livestock to work together with the intestine of the animal, extra of the ensuing ammonia and hydrogen sulfide is moved right into a strong state.
This signifies that, throughout the de-watering course of, the concentrated slurry is left with extra nitrogen and subsequently extra fertiliser worth inside the spreadable solids.
At this stage, two additional therapies will be utilized. The first is a further de-watering and drying system that turns the slurry right into a dry, stackable, strong materials.
This does away with the necessity for lagoon storage, and the top product will be bagged and bought as industrial fertiliser, or utilized straight to the sector.
The second therapy is carried out utilizing Ekogea’s H2E system, which makes use of the BioComplex to deal with the gray water that also accommodates a lot of the slurry’s ammonia.
This takes place inside a easy, compact 20x30ft processing plant, utilizing the seaweed additive to naturally speed up the waste water therapy.
The finish result’s nearly pure water, stripped of its ammonia content material and deemed clear by Environmental Agency requirements, so it may be discharged to sewers or rivers underneath allow, or used on the farm for wash-down or watering.
What are the advantages?
When mixed with the solids from the screw press, the concentrated slurry has the next industrial worth.
Being a fraction of its authentic post-concentration quantity, it nonetheless retains nearly all of its potential yield as a waste feedstock for biogas crops, however with considerably decrease transport prices.
The concentrated slurry ought to produce 9 instances extra biogas a tonne when put next with conventional slurry, making it a sexy asset or extra revenue stream for farmers to promote to anaerobic digestion crops.
“Not solely is it a sensible answer as a result of there’s much less quantity, much less air pollution, and fewer storage and transport prices, however we truly additionally find yourself with a better-quality fertiliser as a result of extra of the nitrogen has been captured and doesn’t simply disappear as a fuel into the ambiance,” says Mr Cain.
The entry-level system comes with a price ticket of £80,000 – although the price will depend upon measurement, processing necessities and any extra options requested.
Further ongoing operational prices must also be factored in, together with use of BioComplex.