Improper management of pig manure has resulted in environmental problems such as surface water eutrophication, ground water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. This study develops and compares 14 alternative manure management scenarios aiming at energy and nutrient extraction. The scenarios based on combinations of thermal pretreatment, anaerobic digestion, anaerobic co-digestion, liquid/solid separation, drying, incineration, and thermal gasification were compared with respect to their energy, nutrient and greenhouse gas balances. Both sole pig manure and pig manure mixed with other types of waste materials were considered. Data for the analyses were obtained from existing waste treatment facilities, experimental plants, laboratory measurements and literature. The assessment reveals that incineration combined with liquid/solid separation and drying of the solids is a promising management option yielding a high potential energy utilization rate and greenhouse gas savings. If maximum electricity production is desired, anaerobic digestion is advantageous as the biogas can be converted to electricity at high efficiency in a gas engine while allowing production of heat for operation of the digestion process. In conclusion, this study shows that the choice of technology has a strong influence on energy, nutrient and greenhouse gas balances. Thus, to get the most reliable results, it is important to consider the most representative (and up-to-date) technology combined with data representing the area or region in question.

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