Send to

Choose Destination
N Biotechnol. 2018 Nov 25;46:31-37. doi: 10.1016/j.nbt.2018.06.001. Epub 2018 Jun 20.

Impact of the treatment of NH3 emissions from pig farms on greenhouse gas emissions. Quantitative assessment from the literature data.

Author information

UMR CNRS 6144 GEPEA, IMT Atlantique, Campus de Nantes, La Chantrerie, 4 rue Alfred Kastler, CS 20722, 44307, Nantes Cedex 3, France. Electronic address:


In order to limit ammonia (NH3) emissions from pig farms, various air cleaning solutions are widely applied. However, the literature data report that these systems (chemical scrubbers, bioscrubbers and biofilters) can be both inefficient and promote nitrous oxide (N2O) production. As air cleaning technologies should not contribute to secondary trace gases that may have a stronger environmental impact than the raw gas compounds themselves, the objective of this study was to quantify the effect of NH3 treatment in pig farms on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. GHGs (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) emitted at the outlet of three different cleaning systems ("chemical scrubber", "bioscrubber" and "bioscrubber + denitrification step") were assessed and compared with the emissions generated by the exhaust air with "no treatment". The calculations show that the chemical scrubber has no effect whereas biological treatments can increase GHG emissions. The use of bioscrubbers alone for NH3 removal can remain acceptable provided that less than 3% of the NH3 entering the apparatus is converted into N2O. In such cases, a maximum increase of 1.9% in GHG emissions could be obtained. Conversely, the addition of a denitrification step to a bioscrubber must be avoided. Increases in overall GHG emissions of up to 25.8% were calculated but more significant increases could occur. With regard to GHG emissions, it is concluded that the use of a chemical scrubber is more suitable than a bioscrubber to treat exhaust air from pig farms.


Air scrubber; Ammonia (NH(3)); Biofilter; Greenhouse gas (GHG); Nitrous oxide (N(2)O); Pig farms

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center