May 2, 2016

Local firm pioneering new fertilizer technology

Process aimed at help pig farmers cut down on contaminants

By James Lawson
Kenosha News

Kenosha-based Centrisys, a manufacturer of wastewater treatment equipment, is looking to expand into pig farm waste with a unique process that turns manure nutrients into fertilizer.

While the company is still developing the technology and could begin manufacturing the equipment some time next year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has already honored the company for the technology during the Nutrient Recycling Challenge.

While Centrisys conducts lab tests, the company will be preparing for the second phase of the EPA Challenge in hopes of winning a financial award to conduct a pilot.

The EPA created the Challenge to accelerate the production of products to manage the problem. Hiroko Yoshida, a senior research and development engineer, said EPA final approval could open the door to production of the system.

Working together

Centrisys is developing the swine manure treatment system in collaboration with CNP-Technology Water and Biosolids Corp., a Kenosha firm that uses AirPlex, a technology that removes liquid from manure, thereby producing struvite, a crystal-like material that can be used as a fertilizer.

The new technology focuses on reducing carbon dioxide and adding magnesium to make the manure less acidic.

Though Centrisys has developed a system that it markets to dairy farmers, this proposed system is different because it uses a combination of centrifuge and AirPlex equipment.

Yoshida said the systems are different because of the the consistency of the manures are different.

Solid separation is the primary means of managing nutrients in livestock manure, Yoshida said.

Addressing concerns

Centrisys officials note that livestock producers manage more than 1 billion tons of animal manure annually in the United States. Concerns over phosphorus and nitrogen contaminants have grown over the years.

The EPA, scientists and environmental experts have been seeking a way to eliminate the danger of animal manure leeching into the soil or draining into streams and lakes, producing algae blooms that deplete oxygen in the water, affecting fish and the overall ecosystem.

The severity of the problem became apparent in the 1990s when many massive pig farms were blamed for causing large fish kills.

Though Wisconsin doesn’t have as many massive pig farms, a research team will conduct lab tests in some nearby states where pig farming is more prominent, according to Yoshida.

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