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Spinning Manure into Plastic
MRIC 2013/14

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Spinning Manure into Plastic

Spinning Manure into Plastic

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 | 12:30-1:30 p.m. 
Whitewater Room, Idaho Commons

Erik Coats - Civil Engineering
Armando McDonald - Forest, Rangeland, and Fire Sciences


More than 9 million dairy cows generate an estimated 226 billion kg of wet manure annually in the U.S. To help mitigate dairy greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with manure degradation, manure can be processed via anaerobic digestion (AD) to CH4 and ultimately electricity. However, on-the-ground AD realization has been impeded by process stability/reliability concerns and poor economics. Considering these challenges but recognizing that AD represents a fundamentally sound manure management approach, an interdisciplinary research team has investigated an integrated process that will improve manure management economics and reduce dairy GHG emissions. This talk focuses on a critical element within this process: synthesizing bioplastics on fermented manure. Drs. Coats and McDonald have collaborated to advance fundamental operating criteria for the process, and are currently conducting investigations in an effort to ultimately commercialize this technology.

Erik R. Coats,
P.E., Ph.D., is an associate professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Idaho. Prior to earning his doctorate, Dr. Coats spent 13 years working as a professional engineer designing municipal water and wastewater systems. Dr. Coats is a licensed professional engineer in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. At the UI, Dr. Coats has focused his efforts on advancing microbial processes for resource recovery from organic-rich waste streams, and on developing an enhanced understanding of microbial wastewater treatment processes. Dr. Coats’ research team also has conducted extensive research into the wastewater treatment process known as enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR), with a particular emphasis on process optimization to reliably achieve better quality effluent.

Armando G. McDonald is a professor of renewable materials chemistry in the Department of Forest, Rangeland and Fire Sciences at the University of Idaho. Dr. McDonald started at UI in December 2001 and came from New Zealand Forest Research, where he was a group leader of the Materials Discovery Group. During his 16 years at Forest Research Armando's research focus on understood the influences of wood chemistry/biochemistry on wood and composite properties and value added bio-based chemicals, fuels, and products. While at UI his teaching focuses on bio-composites, bio-based products and processing, and biomass lingo-cellulosic chemistry.

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