Modeling anaerobic digestion of pig manure at 50° latitude in Western Canada:

Options for improving the energy balance of methane production in cold climates


Project Lead: Dr. Nazim Cicek, Dept. Biosystems Engineering, University of Manitoba
Co-Investigators: Dr. Jan Oleszkiewicz, Civil Engineering (U of M), Dr. Richard Sparling, Microbiology(U of M)
Graduate Students: Joe Ackerman, Ph.D. Candidate (Anaerobic digestion and struvite precipitation), Elsie Jordaan, M.Sc. Candidate (Struvite precipitation kinetics), Oswald Wohlgemut, M.Sc. (Anaerobic co-digestion of manure and glycerol)


ARDI, MAFRI, Manitoba Hydro, and NSERC


In cold climates, it is generally accepted that much of the methane produced by anaerobic digestion of animal wastes is used to keep the digester within the mesophillic range of operation (30-38° C) during winter months, sometimes yielding little or no net annual production for electricity or facility heating.

Optimizing digester tank insulation, enclosing the digester in a passive heating solar greenhouse, allowing influent to reach ambient greenhouse temperature and providing heat exchange between outflow and incoming digester wastes, the energy balance can be substantially improved.

Amending animal manure with high calorific value waste products such as glycerol (a byproduct of biodiesel production) can substantially boost biogas production rates, further improving the energy balance and enhancing the economic value of the process.

This research program evaluates glycerol amendment as a sample co-digestion strategy, and gathers data from a passive solar greenhouse and from lagoon-fed and direct barn -fed hog manure to model anaerobic digestion at 50° latitude in Western Canada.

Preliminary results indicate a greenhouse improved gas economy more than just insulation because a greenhouse allowed heat exchange and preheating of manure to ambient temperatures. Additionally, results show that careful amendment of manure with glycerol can boost biogas yields by up to 2.8 times while avoiding toxicity and operational problems.

Phosphorus recovery form the digested manure through struvite precipitation is being evaluated to add an additional layer of economic benefit to the process and to enhance overall sustainability.

Download pdf of Report:
Improving Anaerobic Digestion Efficiency of Hog Manure in Passive Heating Solar Greenhouses on the Canadian Prairies by Joe N. Ackerman*, Nazim Cicek, Qiang Zhang, Norman Barmeier

Download pdf of Article:  CO‐DIGESTION OF HOG MANURE WITH GLYCEROL TO BOOST BIOGAS AND METHANE PRODUCTION by O. Wohlgemut, N. Cicek, J. Oleszkiewicz, R. Sparling