Plasma treatment of dairy slurry increases grass yields and nitrogen use efficiency

N2 Applied have developed a plasma treatment technology which enriches the nitrogen content of animal slurries and digestates whilst simultaneously reducing NH3 and CH4 emissions. Nitrogen Enriched Organic fertiliser (NEO) was applied to field plot trials in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK to compare the yield performance against an untreated slurry on a two-cut silage ley. NEO applications increased grass dry matter yields by a mean of 57% across all conditions and more than doubled N uptake compared to untreated slurry.

N2 Applied have developed a plasma technology for enhancing livestock slurries and biogas digestates by increasing its nitrogen (N) content and simultaneously reducing ammonia (NH3) and methane (CH4) emissions (Ingels et al., 2015). The technology consists of a two-stage process which fixes N from the air using a plasma arc and absorbing the resultant NOx gas into a liquid organic waste stream. This process enriches the substrate with added N in the form of nitrate (NO3), as well as lowering pH, preventing NH3 loss to the atmosphere and therby increasing N use efficiency (NUE). The Nitrogen Enriched Organic fertiliser (NEO) resulting from the plasma treatment process has the potential to reduce emissions in agriculture, displace chemical N fertilisers, and increase crop yields.