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David Sparks Ph.d Lagoons
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: February 23, 2018

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Dr. Erik Coats, University of Idaho Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, has rocked the dairy world with a technology that he has developed. He can actually take cow manure and through a series of biological processes, turn that manure into biodegradable plastic. I’m not as dumb as I look. I asked Dr. Coats if there was another application that could help treat manure in such a way that it would take away the necessity for dairy lagoons. “Does this show promise for cleaning up lagoons? The technology we are developing dovetails with anaerobic digesters, some berries are choosing that route as a great opportunity to recover another value, another resource, the electricity that we can produce from methane. Our technology plugs into that. The research we’ve done, and we have been operating digesters for several years now, integrated with this system. I think it improves process resiliency on the digestion side so it actually has been exciting to enhance that technology. The idea is that lagoons would no longer be part of the dairy equation.Manure would flux into the system, Into our bio-plastic technology, into the digesters, and then downstream we would look at opportunities to recover more value, collaborating with a microbial ecologist to examine opportunities to grow algae with the nutrients this charged from our reactors. So the idea is that we have waste but to us waste is a resource, we implement a suite of processes. Effluent is discharged from those reactors, that effluent has value, we recover that and try to produce another commodity and the idea is to keep going.

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