Optimization and Sustainability of Converting Agricultural Animal Wastes into Biofuels

EPA Grant Number: SU836037
Title: Optimization and Sustainability of Converting Agricultural Animal Wastes into Biofuels
Investigators: Kim, Dong-Shik , Apul, Defne , LeBlanc, Steve
Current Investigators: Kim, Dong-Shik , Moscarillo, Alison , Bever, Bradley , Apul, Defne , Weir, Jeremy , Batt, Justin , Irving, Kelly , Seedorf, Melissa , Lautzenheiser, Rachael , LeBlanc, Steve
Institution: University of Toledo
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2011 through August 14, 2012
Project Amount: $15,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2011) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Air Quality , P3 Challenge Area - Safe and Sustainable Water Resources , P3 Awards , Sustainable and Healthy Communities


Run-off and seep-through water of agricultural and dairy animal wastes from lagoons and fields poses serious impacts on drinking water sources. We propose conversion of animal wastes into the manure-based biosolids fuel that burns like coal. Rapid conversion of animal manures into coal-like biosolids fuel to use them at coal-fired power plants is regarded innovative. Use of the heat of exothermic chemical reaction with waste lime is also regarded innovative in minimizing the energy use to reduce the moisture contents of the animal manure. Process design includes innovative operation ideas to optimize the efficiency.


Students from the Chemical & Environmental and Civil Engineering will work on lab experiments and computer simulation to design and optimize the process. The process will recycle animal manure to produce energy, which promotes sustainability and prosperity. Protecting drinking water sources benefits human health. Students will learn about both the negative and positive impacts of animal wastes, and become familiar with life cycle assessment (LCA). Their project presentations in design classes, department seminar, and honors program will promote the concepts of sustainability at the university and community levels.

Expected Results:

An optimized process design and operating conditions for producing the manure-based biosolids fuel for combustion in a coal-fired power plant. Samples will be burned in a calorimeter to measure the BTU values. LCA will evaluate the environmental impact of the proposed process. Converting agricultural and dairy animal wastes to fuel is beneficial for protecting drinking water sources and the manure-based biosolid fuel burns with very low pollution emissions.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 2 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

cost benefit assessment, closed loop recycling, computational simulations, alternative energy source, renewable energy, bio-based feed stocks, water conservation, drinking water,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report