Methane emission rates averaged over a year from ten farm-scale manure storage tanks

Nathalia T. Vechi*, Julie M. Falk, Anders M. Fredenslund, Maklawe E. Edjabou, Charlotte Scheutz

*Corresponding author for this work

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Methane (CH4) emissions from animal manure stored in outdoor tanks are difficult to predict because of several influencing factors. In this study, the tracer gas dispersion method (TDM) was used to quantify CH4 emissions from ten manure storage tanks, along with the collection of supporting information, in order to identify its emission drivers. The dataset included two tanks storing dairy cattle manure, six holding pig manure, and two with digestate from manure-based biogas plants. CH4 emissions from the tanks were measured six to 14 times over a year. Emissions varied from 0.02 to 14.30 kg h−1, or when normalised by the volume of manure stored, emission factors (EFs) varied from 0.05 to 11 g m−3 h−1. Annual average CH4 EFs varied greatly between the tanks, ranging from 0.20 to 2.75 g m−3 h−1. Normalised EFs are similar to literature values for cattle and digested manure, but at the high end of the interval for pig manure. The averaged manure temperature for all tanks varied from 10.6 to 16.4 °C, which was higher than reported in a previous Danish study. Volatile solids (VS) concentration was in average higher for cattle manure (ranging from 3.1 and 4.4 %) than pig manure (ranging from 1.0 to 3.6 %). CH4 emission rates were positively correlated with manure temperature, whereas this was not the case for VS concentration. Annual average EFs were higher for pig than for cattle manure (a factor of 2.5), which was greater than digested manure emissions (a factor of 1.2). For the pig manure storage tanks, CH4 emissions were higher for covered tanks than for uncovered tanks (by a factor of 2.3). In this study, manure storage tanks showed a large disparity in emission rates, driven not only by physical factors, but also by farm management practices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number166610
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Manure storage tank
  • Tracer gas dispersion
  • Tank cover
  • Digested manure
  • Methane


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