Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Measuring methane emissions from livestock buildings - CC0204

Methane and nitrous oxide are primary greenhouse gases. Global methane emissions have been estimated to range from approx. 20 to 35 Tg/year, according to calculations based on the methane producing potential of animal waste management systems, from government statistics and literature reviews. Nitrous oxide is formed during microbial denitrification processes in animal manures. The main agricultural source of nitrous oxide is nitrogen fertilizer application, with agricultural land calculated to emit 0.02 to 3.0 g nitrous oxide in g nitrogen/square m/year. This study will aim to devise a practical field method for the measurement of methane and nitrous oxide emission rates from livestock buildings in the UK and to obtain experimentally-based emission data for the major husbandry systems. A technique will be developed for measurement of methane emissions using a transportable methane analyser which delivers reliable results and can be calibrated easily under field conditions. In addition, a method will be established for measurement of nitrous oxide emission rates from the exhaust of livestock buildings. The accuracy and reliability of current instruments for measuring nitrous oxide concentrations will be tested in the laboratory, including consideration of transportability and hygiene. The 2 measurement techniques to be investigated are gas chromatography and infrared gas analysis, both of which may also be used to estimate concentrations of methylamines in animal house air. Field measurements of nitrous oxide emissions will then be conducted from livestock buildings housing cattle, calves, fattening pigs and chickens (layers and broilers), both in summer and winter. It is intended that this work will advance knowledge on amounts of methane and nitrous oxide emitted from UK livestock buildings and that the measurement procedures developed will be used as a basis for future monitoring systems.
To adapt and calibrate a suitable method to measure methane concentrations in animal houses. To develop a suitable method to measure nitrous oxide concentrations in animal house atmospheres. To improve knowledge on methane and nitrous oxide emissions from British livestock enterprises based on measurements. To investigate the ratio of emission rates of N2O and ammonia which is the most important N-compound in animal house.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1992

To: 1996

Cost: £170,809
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Silsoe Research Institute (BBSRC)
Fields of Study
Agriculture and Climate Change