26420 Energy recuperation from manure in pig stables
Richtingen: Master of Science in Electromechanical Engineering


Livestock buildings, like e.g. pig stables, are large source of ammonia emissions. These emissions are mainly originating from the animal manure. It has been shown that the rate of ammonia release is related to the manure temperature, and that a reduction of its temperature with 1°C can lead to a reduction of emissions of 7%.

Although different techniques exist to perform this manure cooling, it is not yet common practice in Belgium. One existing technique is the use of floating heat exchangers (koeldeksysteem), as shown in the picture (source: inagro.be)

In addition to different heat exchanger typologies, there are also different ways of suppling cooling water. One option is to use groundwater, where the heated water is reinjected in the ground. A more energy efficient technique is to combine the manure cooling with a heat pump. This way, the heat in the manure can be utilized to provide heating to the stable.

The optimal configuration of a heat pump, in combination with manure cooling (and possibly also other technologies like e.g. solar collectors and thermal storage) is not clear.


This project aids in achieving sustainable development goal (SDG) 7: affordable and clean energy, by enabling the replacement of fossil fuels by renewable electricity as an energy source for the transport sector.


The goal of the thesis is to compare different manure cooling technologies. Additionally, an investigation of the most efficient use of the recuperated should be performed.

Furthermore, a proposal (typology and dimensions) could be made for an installation that would be suitable for ILVO’s Varkenscampus, where manure cooling is currently not being done.

In addition of a literature study and field survey of the existing techniques, the energetic performance of the different configurations can be evaluated with an already developed numerical model (Python) of ILVO’s varkenscampus. Furthermore, some measurements might be necessary to gather input for this model.