Integrated Manure Utilization System (IMUS)
The Integrated Manure Utilization System (IMUS)
developed by the Alberta Research Council and Highmark Renewables of
Vegreville combines the use of manure as fuel and fertilizer with 21st
Manure has been used as fuel and fertilizer for
millennia, but only in small, local settings. The intensive
concentration of cattle in massive feedlot complexes in Alberta has
created an environmental conundrum for farmers, governments and
regulatory agencies as they try to find ways to dispose of the thousands
of tonnes of manure produced by these operations.
The Integrated Manure Utilization System (IMUS) takes
manure from feedlots and converts it into methane (fuel) and
bio-fertilizer, which can be sold to various users.
The manure is loaded from the feedlot into a machine
that separates out foreign objects like rocks and metal, and pounds the
manure into a fine powder. The manure then enters a wet hopper, where
heated water is added, creating a slurry that has a temperature of 55
degrees Celcius. The slurry goes through another machine which chops the
mix into finer particles, and then deposits it into anaerobic digestion
The anaerobic digestion tanks are where the manure is
broken down into biogas, usually 57-59 percent methane, plus carbon
dioxide and other trace gases. The biogas is constantly collected, and
burned to drive an electrical generator, which supplies power to the
feedlot and the province-wide electrical grid. The pilot plant opened in
2005 near Vegreville generates a considerable amount of electricity.
The slurry from the anaerobic digestion tanks is
transported to a centrifuge where the solid and liquid components are
separated. The liquid is treated to recover nutrients, and then the
resulting water is used for irrigation. The remaining solid is then
converted into bio-fertilizer.
The system has earned praise for reducing greenhouse
gases from manure decomposition while generating "green" power. Highmark
Renewables and the Alberta Research Council are working on developing
IMUS processes which can be used in a variety of livestock operations as
well as food processing operations.
IMUS: Integrated Manure Utilization System
The Heritage Community Foundation is pleased to
present this episode of the Innovation Alberta radio series,
courtesy of Porcupine Stone Productions and Cheryl Croucher.
Mike Kotelko, Project Advisor to High Mark Renewables,
and Dr. Xaiomei Li, the leading scientist for the IMUS biogas project,
describe the technology behind and applications for biogas recovery.
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