Working Paper Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

The Role of Anaerobic Digestion in Reducing Dairy Farm Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Version 1 : Received: 3 December 2020 / Approved: 4 December 2020 / Online: 4 December 2020 (13:45:39 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Scott, A.; Blanchard, R. The Role of Anaerobic Digestion in Reducing Dairy Farm Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Sustainability 2021, 13, 2612. Scott, A.; Blanchard, R. The Role of Anaerobic Digestion in Reducing Dairy Farm Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Sustainability 2021, 13, 2612.

Journal reference: Sustainability 2021, 13, 2612
DOI: 10.3390/su13052612

Abstract

Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emissions from dairy farms are significant contributors to global warming. However much of the published work on GHG reduction is focused on either Methane (CH4) or Nitrous Oxide (N2O), with few, if any, considering the interactions that changes to farm systems can have on both gases. This paper takes the raw data from a year of activity on a 300 cow commercial dairy farm in Northern Ireland to more accurately quantify the GHG sources by use of a simple predictive model based on IPCC methodology. Differing herd management policies are examined together with the impact of integrating Anaerobic Digestion (AD) into each farm system. Whilst significant success can be predicted in capturing CH4 and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) as biogas and preventing N2O emissions, gains made can be lost in a subsequent process negating some or all of the advantage. The process of extracting value from the captured resource is discussed in the light of current farm parameters together with indications of other potential revenue streams. However, this study has concluded that despite the significant potential for GHG reduction, there is little incentive for widespread adoption of manure based farm scale AD in the UK at this time.

Subject Areas

climate change; greenhouse gas emissions; methane; nitrous oxide; cow manure; anaerobic digestion

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