Analysis of ammonia losses after field application of biogas slurries by an empirical model

Authors

  • Kang Ni,

    1. Institute of Crop Science and Plant Breeding, Agronomy and Crop Science Department, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Hermann-Rodewald-Str. 9, 24118 Kiel, Germany
    2. Nanjing Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Science (CAS), Beijing East Road 71, 210008 Nanjing, China
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  • Andreas Pacholski,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Crop Science and Plant Breeding, Agronomy and Crop Science Department, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Hermann-Rodewald-Str. 9, 24118 Kiel, Germany
    • Institute of Crop Science and Plant Breeding, Agronomy and Crop Science Department, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Hermann-Rodewald-Str. 9, 24118 Kiel, Germany
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  • Dirk Gericke,

    1. Institute of Crop Science and Plant Breeding, Agronomy and Crop Science Department, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Hermann-Rodewald-Str. 9, 24118 Kiel, Germany
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  • Henning Kage

    1. Institute of Crop Science and Plant Breeding, Agronomy and Crop Science Department, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Hermann-Rodewald-Str. 9, 24118 Kiel, Germany
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Abstract

Due to energy crises and stricter environmental regulations, renewable energy sources like bio-methane produced by anaerobic digestion (biogas) become increasingly important. However, the application of slurries produced by biogas fermentation to agricultural land and subsequent ammonia emission may also create environmental risks to the atmosphere and to N-limited ecosystems. Evaluating ammonia loss from agricultural land by model simulation is an important tool of agricultural-systems analysis. The objective of this study was the systematical comparison of ammonia volatilization after application of two types of biogas slurries containing high amounts of energy crops in comparison with conventional animal slurries and to investigate the relative importance of factors affecting the emission process through an empirical model. A high number of ammonia-loss field measurements were carried out in the years 2007/08 in biogas cropping systems in N Germany. The study consisted of simultaneous measurement of NH3 losses from animal and biogas slurries in multiple-plot field experiments with different N-fertilization levels. The derived empirical model for the calculation of NH3 losses based on explanatory variables gave good predictions of ammonia emission for both biogas and pig slurries. The root mean square error (RMSE) and mean bias error (MBE) of the empirical model for validation data were 2.19 kg N ha–1 (rRMSE 29%) and –1.19 kg N ha–1, respectively. Biogas slurries produced highest NH3 emissions compared to the two animal slurries. In view of the explanatory variables included in the model, total NHequation image application rate, slurry type, temperature, precipitation, crop type, and leaf-area index were important for ammonia-volatilization losses.

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