"We think that many of these have a
huge potential impact for Illinois," he said.
Ellis headed a team of researchers at
the U of I, Southern Illinois University and Illinois State
University that addressed a broad range of questions related to
swine waste and odor management under the five-year project
initially funded by $6 million from the Illinois Council on Food and
Agricultural Research. Ellis and the other researchers were able to
"leverage" that amount into an additional $12 million from other
"There were a number of technologies
developed for controlling swine waste and odor during that project,
which officially concluded last June 30," he said. "Some are
actually now in commercial use; others are being tested.
Additionally, there are also a number of ideas needing further
development before they can go to the testing stage."
And some of the original projects are
being continued with new funding, including a large-scale project
establishing baseline emissions from typical swine facilities in
Illinois. Results will be used to set emission standards. Another
project, an anaerobic digester for waste disposal, will be tested in
a pilot plant in southern Illinois. This idea was developed by Dr.
Jim Blackburn at Southern Illinois University.
"Richard Masel, a professor of chemical
engineering, is working with catalytic converters, which could be a
potentially very useful technology in controlling swine odor," said
However, as these projects wrap up,
researchers are moving into new areas.
"Most of our efforts have been aimed at
retrofitting existing swine production facilities with equipment and
technologies that can help control and/or reduce waste and odor
problems," said Ellis. "This is important because producers need
affordable methods to address these problems. However, we are also
looking at new ways to design swine production facilities that could
help address the problems."
[to top of second column in
Another cooperative effort of great
potential for all the state's livestock producers has been launched
with federal funding. The Integrated Crop and Livestock Program
involves researchers in the departments of Crop Sciences, Animal
Sciences, and Agricultural and Biological Engineering.
"The concept is simple -- try to retain
nutrients in livestock manure in order to increase its value as
fertilizer," said Ellis. "This can have a double impact. Not only do
you get better fertilizer by retaining more nutrients in the manure,
but by retaining more nitrogen you lessen the emissions from the
Bob Hoeft, a professor of crop sciences
who is leading this effort, refers to the concept as "designer
The catchy title has significant
potential for Illinois, where the livestock industry has been
stressed for some time.
"Illinois has good cropland composed of
soils that can absorb and utilize the waste as fertilizer," said
Ellis. "An economically feasible way to do this would be extremely
helpful to agricultural producers. A producer could raise livestock
and apply the waste to the cropland, fertilizing the crop and
reducing the waste and odor problem at the same time.
"The economic potential for Illinois if
this succeeds is huge."
While federal funds have provided a
startup for the project, Ellis believes it will eventually require
an initiative comparable to the Illinois project on swine waste and
odor management in order to succeed.
another initiative of a sizable nature to tackle all the aspects of
the Integrated Crop and Livestock Program," he said.
[University of Illinois news