Trident Nutrient Recovery Technology results presented at 2016 Ag & Biogas Forum
Trident Processes LLC, announced presentations of the latest news about their nutrient recovery technology to visitors of the BC Biogas Forum, an annual event at the Pacific Ag Show in Abbotsford, BC Canada. The forum was well attended by biogas professionals, farm producers and suppliers, and representatives of government departments and universities.
Trident’s Nutrient Recovery is now a proven process with commercial installations in both Canada and the USA as reported in a presentation by Chris Bush, Manager of Trident Systems Operations. Mr. Bush is considered a pioneer in the biogas industry in BC, the developer of BC’s first large scale dairy-based biogas system. That initiative is now supplying green energy to many BC households. He addressed many of the forum’s attendees by name, and drove home the point that digesters should not be considered a stand-alone solution for agriculture. “It is only part of the solution,” he said. “Nutrient recovery is a natural technology progression that adds value to owners of agricultural digesters. It brings additional benefits and enhances the overall value of the digester.”
“Nutrient recovery is no longer in the realm of future development,” he said. It is now commercialized and gaining traction quickly. “The viability and success of nutrient recovery for dairy farms is being validated daily with successful installations of Trident’s systems in both Canada and the USA,” he reported. “The system in Fair Oaks Farms in Fair Oaks Indiana, one of the largest, most prominent farms in the USA, now installed the better part of a year runs like a Swiss watch.” “But,” he cautioned, “not all digesters are the same and work still needs to be done to ensure the AD digestate being released from digesters and fed to the nutrient recovery processes is consistent. That would go a long way to making the nutrient recovery processes be more consistent as well.” This is especially true for Full Mix digesters, which tend to have less consistent outputs. He notes. “Plug flow digesters, with manure only, are producing the best quality nutrient recovery products. The most premium bedding, the driest nutrients cake and the cleanest water.” He suggested the inconsistency of off-farm organic waste such as that being introduced at the Seabreeze Farm digester, which is used to boost gas production, can have negative effects on both the digester operation and the downstream nutrient recovery processes. Quality control of digester feedstocks needs to be improved.
Two other nutrient recovery technologies were also presented. One from the Netherlands and a new microwave based technology producing struvite, a mineralized phosphorous recovery system, which is still in development by the University of British Columbia. Both these systems appeared to have significantly higher costs and actual returns on investment are still largely unknown.
Another presentation, reporting the study of the liquid digestate processed by the Trident Nutrient Recovery System and being sent to the holding lagoon at Seabreeze Dairy Farm in Delta, BC. The 3-year study funded by the Innovation Agriculture Foundation, the BC Government, the Canadian Government Growing Forward 2 Program, and other BC farm stakeholders was designed to determine how much nutrient is present in the final digestate water being sent to the manure lagoon after exiting the Trident Nutrient Recovery System.
The study’s first year preliminary results, strongly suggested the Trident Nutrient Recovery System was indeed removing the majority of the nutrients, including the majority of the phosphorous.
Dave Melnychuk, P.Ag, a licensed agrologist, former employee of BC Agriculture Department, and now consultant to BC dairy farms is the designer of the study. He was enthusiastic about the initial results. “The levels of solids being sent to the lagoon are definitely reduced; to about 1 percent,” he reported. Most of the nutrients are being captured in the nutrient cake, the clay-like material produced by the nutrient recovery system. “I feel pretty safe to say, if reduced Phosphorus is the goal,” he stated, “then the Trident Nutrient Recovery system is working, because Phosphorous levels in the lagoon are significantly diminished.”
The study is also determining how the “nutrient-tea”, the name being given to the final digestate water, will affect land nutrient-load levels as well as the nutrient uptake and growth levels of plants being fertilized with it. “Those results are promising as well,” he reported. “Plant growth is showing good results and the land phosphorus levels appear to be diminishing, suggesting the plants are taking up excess phosphorous that is residing in the soil.” But, he thought it was still too early to surmise too much. “Another two years will tell a better tale.”
Trident is pleased to be in a leadership position with nutrient recovery technologies. “We are getting serious inquiries from all of the USA and Canada,” states Kerry Doyle, President of Trident Processes, who was out of town on business was not able to attend the forum presentations. “We’re also heavy into the R&D for advancing the technology even more. Pilots will be underway to test some proprietary innovations with the potential to increase the value of our process to farmers significantly and to increase the markets for Trident.”
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