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Proceedings available at: http://www.extension.org/67663
Recent research has shown that over half of nitrogen excreted by chickens is lost into the atmosphere via ammonia volatilization before the litter is removed from poultry houses. Large quantities of particulate matter and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are also emitted from animal rearing facilities. During the past decade we have developed and patented an acid scrubber for capturing ammonia, VOCs and dust from air exhausted from poultry and swine barns. The objectives of this project were; (1) to re-design the scrubber to improve the ammonia removal efficacy, (2) conduct full-scale testing of the scrubber under controlled conditions at various ventilation rates, (3) evaluate the cost, practicality and efficacy of various acids for scrubbing ammonia, and (4) install scrubbers on exhaust fans of poultry houses located in Virginia and Arkansas and measure the efficiency of ammonia removal from the exhaust air. The efficiency of ammonia removal by the scrubber varied from 55-95%, depending on the type of acid used, air flow rate, and the internal scrubber configuration. This technology could potentially result in the capture of a large fraction of the N lost from AFOs, while simultaneously reducing emissions of bacteria, dust, and odors, which would improve the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of poultry and swine production.