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The excessive amount of pig slurry spread on soil has contributed to nitrate water pollution both in surface and in ground waters, especially in areas classified as vulnerable zones to nitrate in accordance with European Regulation (91/676/CEE). Several techniques have been developed to manage livestock slurries as cheaply and conveniently as possible and to reduce potential risks of environmental pollution. Among these techniques, solid-liquid separation of slurry is a common practice in Italy. The liquid fraction can be used for irrigation and the solid fraction, after aerobic stabilization, produces an organic compost rich in humic substances. However, compost derived from swine solid fraction is a low density material (bulk density less than 500 kgm–3). This makes it costly to transport composted swine solid fraction from production sites to areas where it could be effectively utilized for value-added applications such as in soil fertilization. Densification is one possible way to enhance the storage and transportation of the compost. This study therefore investigates the effect of pressure (20- 110 MPa) and pressure application time (5-120 s) on the compaction characteristics of compost derived from swine solid fraction. Two different types of material have been used: composted swine solid fraction derived from mechanical separation and compost obtained by mixing the first material with wood chips. Results obtained showed that both the pressure applied and the pressure application time significantly affect the density of the compacted samples; while the specific compression energy is significantly affected only by the pressure. Best predictor equations were developed to predict compact density and the specific compression energy required by the densification process. The specific compression energy values based on the results from this study (6-32 kJkg–1) were significantly lower than the specific energy required to manufacture pellets from biomass feedstock (typically 19-90 kJkg–1).
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