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  • Writer's picturemike@loxyde

Solution for dairy ammonium emissions that are crippling the Netherlands

For the last weeks the dutch economy has been hit by THE nitrogen crisis. This is caused by nitrogen oxides (produced by industry and vehicles) and ammonium emissions (produced by animal manure) which then come down as nitrogen into the environment. Basically to cut a long story short there is too much nitrogen in the environment.

There is a solution: GierO2.

GierO2 was created some 7 years ago when there was a government sponsored competition aimed at finding a method to further lower ammonium emissions when - as is required in the Netherlands - injecting liquid manure into the soil. The 3 finalist would each received quite a substantial grant to pay for official testing of their method to then allow it to be officially recognised as a treatment method for lowering emissions in liquid manure which farmers then have to apply.

Everyone who has passed by a field recently treated with liquid manure can certainly agree that the smell is rather "strong". Well the aim of this competition was to find a method to reduced this further. A friend of mine told me he was involved in this and had presented 3 different methods which would lower emissions to about 70%.

So I told him why don't you aim for 100%. He said that it was impossible. So I told him that it could easily be done using a special combination of products all of which are environment friendly. GierO2 works by converting ammonium in the storage cuves to nitrite and nitrate which are not volatile (I always say we rapidly compost the liquid manure).

So he did some tests and behold reduced ammonium concentration by 100%. He the presented his findings to the jury of the competition and was allowed through to the second stage of the competition. During this stage the aim is to do further tests on the product and then report the finding to the competition jury. His findings were as follows:

- 100% reduction of ammonium emissions (no smell)

- increases fertilising value of liquid manure - no need to apply nitrogen fertiliser after application of the liquid manure as is now common practice. A good thing as that means less chemical nitrogen fertiliser.

- Liquid manure absorbed 5 times faster by the soil - better for the soil and soil micro-organisms

- Grass fertilised with treated liquid manure had a much higher nutrient value meaning that supplementary feed could be decreased. This saves money to the farmer.

These findings were presented to the competition board. Although very excited about the 100% reduction in ammonium emissions, they were not at all impressed by the reduction in supplementary feed or by the reduction in nitrogen fertiliser. GierO2 did not get to the 3rd round and was eliminated.

The reason GierO2 did not go to the next round was not an environmental decision, it was an economic decision. Let me explain: there are thousand of tons of nitrogen fertiliser and of supplementary feed sold each year in the Netherlands. Decrease sales would have a direct effect on government income - as well as that of big companies who produce and sell these products.

But now that there is an emission crisis GierO2 might just be the solution between having to stop building certain infrastructures and continuing to drive at 130 km on the motorway.

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1 kommentti

22. maalisk. 2020

It's always about the money. So many good ideas are scrapped because of the bottom line.

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