Wednesday, October 20th, 2010
By Nancy Allen
Hog farmers turn out for meeting
Company wants to make asphalt-like product from swine manure
  About 50 people attended a meeting Tuesday in Celina to learn about a process that turns swine manure into an asphalt-like material, fertilizer coatings and other products traditionally petroleum-based.
Jim Sattler, owner of NuVention in Valley View, the Ohio company developing the process, told the group he wants to set up an operation in Mercer County within a year. He hopes to have 45 units operating in Ohio in the next five years.
Sattler wants to install portable units the size of a flatbed trailer at individual farms. The units would separate the manure solids and then "pressure cook" them in a reactor, producing a thick, black asphalt-type substance called bio oil. A gray water discharge from the process would be available for the farmers.
Sattler said each unit would be designed to handle manure from 5,000 to 10,000 hogs. The company would supply all the equipment, and the farmer would be paid about $9 per pig, per year for the manure.
Hog farmers Tuesday wanted to know the nutrient breakdown of the water discharge from the manure separator. Sattler said the water likely could be pumped into a manure storage structure and applied to fields as fertilizer. He did not have the nutrient breakdown available Tuesday.
A way to pump waste from pits under hog barns that would not agitate the manure would need to be used, farmers also said, because agitation could cause the release of deadly gases.
There also were questions about what types of pumps would be used and how fast they could pump.
Mercer County OSU Extension educator Jim Hoorman will plan another meeting to discuss the issue further. He said he would invite Harold Keener, an OSU Extension compost specialist.
Sattler said some companies partnering on the project include The Ohio State University, the University of Illinois, Sherwin-Williams, John Deere, Turf Grass, The Andersons, Ohio Department of Transportation, numerous roofing companies and others. The technology also has support from Ohio Pork Producers, NASA and Ohio Polymers.
"We've got a lot of questions yet, but at least they're making progress," Hoorman said. "What impressed me is they got a lot of good partners."
NuVention has a commercial demonstration unit under construction at a farm in Ashland County near the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center of Ohio State University, Wooster. It has a 20-year agreement with the 40,000-head Shoup Farm to use its manure for the demonstration.
NuVention completed its first test project using hog manure asphalt on an access road leading to Six Flags Amusement Park in May. Sattler said NuVention has an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation to lay a 10-mile test strip near Cincinnati in 2011. The company's product replaces 10 to 15 percent of the total petroleum-base in asphalt.
Hoorman said prior to Tuesday's meeting, he received calls from hog farmers in four counties interested in the technology.
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