Development of an ammonia emission protocol and preliminary emission factor for a central Texas dairy



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Texas A&M University


A protocol was developed to measure ammonia emission concentrations from dairies using an isolation flux chamber. A hybrid dairy in Comanche county, Texas, was measured for one week each during August 2002 and January 2003. Sixty total ammonia samples were taken from the free stall barn, open lot, mixing tank, separated solids, compost, and two lagoons using the developed protocol. The ammonia concentration measurements were made using a chemiluminescence analyzer located inside a mobile laboratory. From the emission concentrations recorded, it was estimated that 9.68 metric tons of ammonia were produced from this dairy per year. An emission factor of 13.34 ? 28.80 kilograms per day per thousand head of cattle (kg/day/1000 head) was estimated for this dairy (?95% confidence intervals) during summer conditions. For winter conditions the emission factor was 12.05 ? 12.89 kg/day/1000 head. The 11% difference of the emission factors from summer to winter conditions was predominantly from the change in ambient and control volume temperatures (a mean difference of approximately 25 degrees Celsius), differences in source temperatures, and seasonal variability in husbandry. The adsorption of ammonia onto different polymer tubing used in pollutant stream conveyance was researched for possible systematic losses. Teflon and low density polyethylene (LDPE) were tested for ammonia losses with treatments of: temperature, length, and inlet concentration. Inlet concentration and temperature were significant factors used to describe ammonia adsorption for Teflon, whereas LDPE was also affected by tubing length. These factors were used to create a model to correct the summer dairy measurements for ammonia losses, resulting in an emission factor increase of 8.3% over the original value obtained from the flux chamber. A nitrogen mass balance was performed to estimate the amount of nitrogen available for ammonia formation as excreted - 177.5 kilograms per year per animal (wet basis). The amount of ammonia excreted per year was also estimated to be 26.63 kilograms per year. The measured ammonia emitted from the dairy was five times less than the ammonia excreted and thirty-six times less than the total nitrogen excreted.