Primary supervisor: Dr Marie Kirby, [Email Address Removed], Department of Agriculture and Environment
Non-academic partner: Wykes Engineering Limited
Project Title: Valorisation strategies for optimising the further use of chicken manure and reducing its environmental impact
The UK has successful poultry layer and broiler industries which generate a significant volume of chicken manure as a by-product of producing eggs and poultry meat. Chicken manure is typically applied to agricultural land to provide vital crop nutrients to aid crop growth. Chicken manure contains high concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorous, which if applied inappropriately, can leach into surrounding watercourses causing eutrophication. However, these nutrients could be extracted from the chicken manure and valorised into useful products for further applications. Not only would this reduce the risk of eutrophication, it will provide a new revenue for poultry producers and help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from this industry.
This fully funded, four-year PhD will work with a range of industrial partners to investigate the current commercial practises of treating broiler chicken manure before experimenting with more novel technology approaches. In conjunction with Wykes Engineering Ltd, the use of anaerobic digestion to treat chicken manure will be developed to investigate specific nutrient removal from the anaerobic digestate and recover these crop nutrients into valorised fertiliser-type products. These fertiliser-type products will be tested for crop uptake efficiency using glasshouse pot crop trials. Cost-benefit analyses of current commercial practise will be examined and compared to this novel valorisation strategy. The aim of this PhD is to deliver practical recommendations and technology solutions to aid commercial development in this area.
Harper Adams University has purpose-built facilities for undertaken anaerobic digestion research, alongside the Crop and Environment Research Centre (CERC) with dedicated facilities for glasshouse and field crop trials. The student will be expected to have a good knowledge of the poultry industry, previous experience using different technology approaches and sound practical laboratory skills.
The expected start date for the studentship is September 2022. The studentship will cover the current Home tuition fee rate plus a yearly stipend set at the UKRI figure – currently £16,062. International applicants would need to be able to fund the difference between Home and Overseas fees which is currently £10,330 per year with the first year’s fee’s being paid in full before Visa documentation can be issued. The student will be registered for a PhD at Harper Adams University and based at Harper Adams University, Edgmond, Shropshire, UK.