Anaerobic digestion of horse manure renewable energy and plant nutrients in a systems perspective

University dissertation from Gävle : Gävle University Press

Abstract: In horse keeping horse manure is produced, which can be utilized as a fertilizer or considered a waste. Horse manure constitutes a resource in terms of both plant nutrients and energy. In addition energy policies and objectives aim at replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources. The interest to improve resource recovery of horse manure increases due various incentives for renewable vehicle fuels, legal requirements on management of manure, and environmental impact from current horse manure management.This thesis aims at describing horse manure management in a life cycle perspective. This is made by (1) identifying factors in horse keeping affect­ing the possibility to use horse manure as a biogas feedstock and to recycle plant nutrients, (2) analysing factors in anaerobic digestion with influence on methane potential and biofertilizer nutrient content and (3) comparing the environmental impact from different horse manure treatment methods. Literature reviews, systematic combining, and simulations have been used as research methods.The results show that horse keeping activities such as feeding, indoor keeping, outdoor keeping and manure storage affect the amount and charac­teristics of horse manure and thereby also the possibilities for anaerobic digestion horse manure. Transport affects the collected amount and spread­ing affects loss of nutrients and nutrient recycling. Simulation results in­dicate the highest methane yield and energy balance from paper bedding, while straw and peat gave a higher nutrient content of the biofertilizer. The highest methane yield was achieved with a low rate of bedding, which in the cases of woodchips and paper is also preferable for plant nutrient recycling. Still, results indicate the best energy balance from anaerobic digestion with a high ratio of bedding. The environmental impact assessment indicates a reduction in global warming potential for anaerobic digestion compared to incineration or composting.