ATAD Treatment of Cattle Slurries: Engineering

Project Title: A Study of Engineering and Microbiological Aspects of Autothermal Thermophilic Aerobic Digestion (ATAD) Treatment of Cattle Slurries.

Student Name: Ciarán McCausland

Supervisor: Dr. John Bartlett

Funding Body: HEA PRTLI 3



A research study is proposed, to examine the use and optimisation of ATAD for the treatment of cattle slurries.

Cattle slurries represent almost 100 times the volume of municipal sewage sludges in Ireland. These slurries, unlike pig and other intensive system slurries are characterised by dispersed production and variable analytical profiles. The literature shows an urgent need for technologies that can effectively deal with this waste.  In this project, the usefulness of ATAD as a treatment process for cattle slurries in single unit, or small collective configurations will be examined, with particular reference to optimising the process by controlling engineering and microbiological aspects.

This project involves direct collaboration between IT, Sligo and the University of Limerick (UL). Professor Tony Pembroke of UL has worked for many years on the identification of microbial populations, in particular the thermophilic populations that are the core of the ATAD process.

This project is a development of three Biosolids projects funded in PRTLI-Cycle 2 (characterisation of sewage sludges, optimisation of sludge treatment technologies and land aspects of agricultural reuse). Results from this project will be available to all researchers within the Centre for Sustainability, in particular those of Biosolids 9 (Anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge and animal slurries).

Two Ph.D. students are envisaged. The Sligo-based student will work primarily on engineering aspects of the process. The Limerick-based student will work primarily on microbiological aspects of the process.