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Developing New Ammonia Emissions Factors For Modern Livestock Housing And Manure Management Systems - AC0123

Through its reactions in the atmosphere and subsequent impacts on the terrestrial and aquatic environment, Ammonia (NH3) is a key environmental pollutant; it contributes directly to acidification, eutrophication and - through secondary conversions into particles, to climate impacts and direct human health impacts. Uncertainties around NH3 emissions from the UK Agriculture sector remain a challenge and an important policy issue. Ammonia emissions remain to be quantified for a number of current livestock building and manure storage systems whilst new housing systems are constantly being introduced that reduce emissions and safeguard and enhance animal welfare.

This project will enable Defra to demonstrate the benefit of these improvements in reduced NH3 emissions and better understand the impact of current and planned policy.

In the light of the current uncertainties there is a need to review the UK NH3 emissions inventory for gaps and weaknesses and, where necessary, obtain further NH3 measurements from housing systems where data are lacking or uncertain. Specific objectives of the project are to:
• Provide estimates of NH3 emissions which reflect current and expected developments/trends in UK livestock buildings and stores
• Improve the scientific basis of emission estimates through a detailed literature review and, where necessary, accurate measurement campaigns that embrace best practice quality control
• Improve the estimates of NH3 emissions from the UK agriculture sector

We have assembled a team, led by AEA, that is uniquely well placed to deliver this study. The team includes CEH, Wageningen University and Dr Colin Burton. Together we comprise the leading UK experts in air quality measurements with specific experience and knowledge of the measurement of NH3 having developed the current methodology for the measurement of NH3 from livestock buildings and manure stores. The team combines measurement expertise with deep insight into the NARSES model that is used to estimate emissions of NH3 from UK livestock production, including the model developer. The Centre of Ecology and Hydrology, Wageningen University (the leading researchers in Europe on NH3 emissions from livestock production) and Dr Colin Burton, formerly of Silsoe Research, bring complementary knowledge on experimental design and NH3 measurement protocols including the most recent projects to measure NH3 emissions from livestock buildings in the UK. In addition we will receive advice from Mr Nigel Youd of Noble Foods Ltd on current commercial operations within intensive animal production units; thus broadening knowledge tranfer..

Our team will adopt a two phase approach. The first phase comprises a systematic review of current data. We review will identify evidence gaps and indicate the relative cost/benefit of measuring NH3 emissions to fill these gaps. We will consider the relative magnitude of the emissions from housing systems for which data are few, uncertain or absent as well as the differences in emissions from such systems compared with analogous systems for which data does exist. The effectiveness of mitigation techniques will be assessed including the likely impacts on greenhouse gas emissions and diffuse pollution losses - in order to better understand any co benefits or dis benefits of measures. The output from the review will make recommendations on how the UK inventory can be updated to reflect UK industry’s uptake of housing types and manure storage options.

The second phase will provide a rigorous and robust determination of the best measurement techniques for the types of commercial buildings and stores identified during Phase 1, identifying priorities for measurement. We will focus on approaches for commercial ‘real world’ emissions since replicated experimental facilities are more appropriate for measuring relative differences among specific aspects of construction, or abatement techniques, rather than the accurate estimates of on-farm emissions necessary to improve inventories. AEA has developed an extensive network of local farm advisers throughout England through its delivery of various national agricultural programmes. We will call on this network to identify and liaise with suitable farms for consideration within the measurement campaign.

Protocols will be designed for measurement programmes and statistical analysis to deliver robust annual emissions estimates that will improve accuracy within UK emission inventories. The programme will obtain accurate estimates of the amounts of total nitrogen (N) and total ammoniacal nitrogen (TAN) deposited within buildings / in stores under study; a necessary output because NH3 emissions are calculated in the inventory as a proportion of TAN excreted.

The study outputs will be robust estimates of total annual NH3 emissions from current and future operational agricultural buildings and stores, expressed as proportions of TAN, and presented in a way that is readily incorporated into the NARSES model of UK NH3 emissions..
Project Documents
• EVID4 - Final project report : AC0123 evid4 - Final Report Phase 1   (273k)
• ANX - Annex : AC0123 App 1 - Phase 1   (750k)
• ANX - Annex : AC0123 App2 Nl data - Phase 1   (104k)
• ANX - Annex : AC0123 App3 Mech vs Nat vent - Phase 1   (145k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2011

To: 2015

Cost: £586,312
Contractor / Funded Organisations
A E A Technology plc (AEA)
Agriculture and Climate Change              
Climate Change              
Livestock Farming