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The effect of temperature on dairy waste decomposition and the production of methane gasFeatured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This experiment was performed to compare the effect of temperature on the anaerobic decomposition of bovine manure to produce methane gas. The experiment was conducted by keeping cow manure in sealed containers and storing them at temperatures of 14 C, 24 C and 34 C, and comparing the amounts of methane gas produced.

Hypothesis

The container stored at 34 °C will produce the most methane gas.

Scientific Terms

Anaerobic, decomposition, hydraulics, gravity, methane

Background

Dairy waste treatment

Dairy waste can be treated in anaerobic lagoons, which provide treatment of the animal waste with minimal release of odor. These anaerobic lagoons are also able to decompose more organic material in per unit volume as compared to aerobic lagoons.
The advantages of an anaerobic lagoon are that animal manure can be handled by hydraulics using flushing systems, pumps and sewer pipes. The amount of odor released is much less, while the level of nitrogen in the manure is also lower. The lagoon also provides long-term storage for these wastes, with very little cost incurred. However, the disadvantage of using an anaerobic lagoon is the public perception that it is a tank of manure. Some odor may be released at certain times of the year during seasonal changes. The lack of nitrogen will also limit the use of the manure as a fertilizer.

The lagoon should ideally be located in lower grounds compared to the source of the waste, so that gravity can be used to flush the waste into the lagoon. Clay soil is the most economical and suitable for the construction of the lagoon.
 

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Complexity level:
7
Project cost ($):
50
Time required:
3 hours for preparation, 5 days to conduct this science project
Material availability:
You will need to obtain samples of cow manure for this science project
Safety concerns:

None.