Fresh air in a barn? Isn’t that an irony? Apparently not, if researchers from North Carolina State University and West Virginia University get their way. Folks who have stepped foot into a chicken or swine barn would know what I am talking about, as the stench will definitely punch you in the face (for most first timers), before your nose gets used to it after that. Even when vented outdoors, the air from within the barn will not only stink the surrounding area, but also add to the greenhouse effect. Good thing the aforementioned researchers have come up with a system that might clean the air going out of the barns, in addition to heating air on the outside that is making its way in.
The system works by sending polluted air through a biofiltration medium, which normally comprises of compost or wood chips, where bacteria that lives within the material will help break down and neutralize the pollutants – taking cue from the biofilters that are used for fish ponds or aquariums. When the medium’s lifespan is up, just throw it away as crop fertilizer due to its high nitrogen content – how green can you get? The removal of ammonia was the research team’s main focus, and a prototype system which saw action in a 5,000-bird chicken barn removed up to 79% of the ammonia from the outgoing air, while recovering a cool 8.3 kilowatts of heat. Hopefully future versions will be far more efficient – now that’d be something.