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The effect of a semi-permeable membrane-covered composting system on greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions in the Tibetan Plateau

Sun, Xiaoxi, Ma, Shuangshuang, Han, Lujia, Li, Renquan, Schlick, Uwe, Chen, Peizhi, Huang, Guangqun
Journal of cleaner production 2018 v.204 pp. 778-787
ammonia, animal husbandry, carbon dioxide, cattle manure, composting, germination, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, livestock, methane, nitrous oxide, oxygen, pastoralism, poultry manure, temperature, water content, China
The Tibetan Plateau is a traditional pastoral area in the western part of China where animal husbandry is a local pillar. The cattle manure in this area accounts for 77% of the total amount of local livestock and poultry manure. To reduce the harmful side effects associated with cattle manure use in the Tibetan Plateau region of China, a highly-efficient semi-permeable membrane-covered compost system was used. Main physicochemical and gas indicators were measured to investigate the effects of this compost system. Overall, the composting temperature was above 50 °C for 34 days, which resulted in the moisture content and germination index of the final compost being 30 ± 1% and 84%, respectively. Additionally, the obstruction of semi-membrane, high oxygen and water concentrations under the semi-permeable membrane reduced the emission of greenhouse gases and ammonia, with cumulative emissions of CO2, CH4, N2O and NH3 outside the membrane being 73%, 96%, 80% and 65% lower than those inside the membrane, respectively. Moreover, the maximum cumulative concentrations of CO2, CH4, N2O and NH3 outside the membrane were 98%, 95%, 72% and 58% lower than those inside the membrane, respectively. This research demonstrated the advantages of using the semi-permeable membrane-covered composting system to reduce GHGs as well as ammonia production and emissions and the responsible mechanisms. The semi-permeable membrane-covered composting system could be a good choice for treatment of manure in the Tibetan Plateau region.