May 3, 2020 by ALEJANDRO ROYO
An Innovative System of Pig Manure Management
The Zaragozan company, Depuporc, is working on an innovative system of pig manure management that could go as far away as the United States.
Aerial view of the processing plant with the new system for processing swine manure.
4,500 Farms & 8000 Swine
Nearly 4,500 farms, and almost eight million head of swine being raised in Aragon, makes this type of livestock the leader of our community sector. It is undoubtedly an expanding sector with a clearly positive impact, but also has aspects that need improvement. One of those is the question of the pig manure produced by these animals. Various enterprises and organizations work on different projects and initiatives to not only reduce its impact, but also to make it valuable and convert something that initially is waste into a beneficial sub-product that enables savings for certain farms.
An example of this is the Zaragozan company, Depuporc. This company was founded in 2017 with the goal of developing and exploiting a patented system for pig manure management based on two processes: electro-coagulation and electro-oxidation.
“The main objective of the system is the reduction of the nitrogen present in the excretions of livestock and therefore the reuse of the resulting liquid (water). Once separated from solids and treated, it may be reused for irrigation, cleaning the stalls and can even be poured into the river as long as it is within the allowed parameters,” explains Eduardo Chopo, technical director and founding partner of Depuporc.
The heads of the companies associated with the project,
during the signing of the commercialization agreement.
“Therefore, the environmental impact of the application of the system is global, since it reduces the water footprint of the establishment, avoids saturation of crop fields, avoids contamination of aquifers and reduces the emission of greenhouse gases," added Chopo.
It is also a system which has sparked the interest of international companies. Depuporc has been working since 2017 with a "technological partner", the North American company OriginClear Technologies. In December of last year, both firms signed an agreement for the commercialization of Depuporc's system in the United States as well as in the operating zones of this company’s clients. "This is a true turning point in our business model," indicates Eduardo Chopo.
In Situ Pilot Plant
The operation of this system can be verified 'in situ' at the pilot plant that Depuporc
has in the province of Huesca. This facility was built in 2019 on an existing livestock farm. The plant is capable of managing 30 cubic meters of pig manure per day, which is the equivalent of what is generated by a farm raising about 4,000 pigs. This plant, as certified last December by an independent laboratory, achieves a 94% reduction in nitrogen, and a reduction in COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand, or oxygen depletion) and a 99% phosphorous reduction.
In this plant, potential clients can ascertain under working conditions, the correct functioning of the system and how it can impact their operation. In fact, a few weeks ago, a delegation of the South Korean Ministry of Agriculture visited the plant. It’s “a country with half the area of Spain and a very similar population density, making the problems of intensive farming very relevant. The meeting was very positive for both parties”, explains the technical director of Depuporc.