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Proven, Scalable and Commercially Ready


Proven, Scalable and Commercially Ready

Agricultural Waste Project

UBC Dairy Education and Research Centre, Agassiz, BC

The UBC Dairy Education Centre is in need of new ways to manage waste and nutrients that comply with the Agricultural Environmental Management Code. 

The Dairy Centre has approximately 525 cows on site. The farm currently generates ~7100 (kg P/yr) total phosphorus output a year. Options to manage nutrients on site are limited to spreading on the land (typically limited to April 1st to Oct. 31st), managing crops to maximize uptake of nutrients, reduction of herd size or the use of technology. 

MW-AOP and Struvite Recovery technologies have been pilot-tested at the UBC Dairy Centre over the past 8 years. The MW-AOP can break down solids and release nutrients from the liquid fraction of dairy manure, making the resulting solution suitable for production and recovery of struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate; a slow-release fertilizer). The break-down of manure particulates also results in readily biodegradable products in the form of volatile fatty acids (VFA’s), suitable for high-rate methane production via anaerobic digestion (AD). Using the MW-AOP treated effluent, an advanced anaerobic digester can be adopted, which can increase the rate of methane production with a smaller digester footprint. 

The newly proposed project aims at building and demonstrating a novel microwave-enhanced advanced oxidation process (MW-AOP) as part of a resource recovery system for efficient waste management of dairy wastes. This would improve sustainability, manure and nutrient management efficiency and environmental performance of the dairy farm. This project will build on the previous work and is envisioned to be a flagship demonstration of how these technologies work together to manage the phosphorus issue, reduce the amount of manure and produce energy. 

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Phosphorus was recovered from dairy manure via a microwave-enhanced advanced oxidation process (MW-AOP) followed by struvite crystallization in a pilot-scale continuous flow operation. Soluble phosphorus in dairy manure increased by over 50% after treatment, and the settleability of suspended solids was greatly improved. More than 50% of clear supernatant was obtained after microwave treatment.

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