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Cow toilet reduces ammonia emissions

Credit: Creative commons

A new urination system for cows, or the “CowToilet,” will help prevent the formation of ammonia, according to the Flemish infocentre for agriculture and horticulture (VILT).

The CowToilet is a Dutch innovation that collects waste directly from cows so that it doesn’t come into contact with the manure on the floor of the barn.

“This leaves manure and urine as two valuable fertiliser streams, because the urine is rich in nitrogen and potassium,” explained the CowToilet’s producer Hanskamp.

The CowToilet was assigned a provisional emission factor (VEF) of 8.4 kg per cow per year when it was installed.

It’s already being put to use (and photos of it in action can be found on VILT’s website) in Leeuwarden in the Netherlands, where Wageningen University (WUR) is carrying out extensive emission measurements.

“From these first measurements, it appears that the Final Emission Factor (DEF) will probably be a lot lower than the provisional emission factor,” the university reported.

The urine extracted from the CowToilet could be used directly in the production of artificial fertiliser in the very near future.

“The European Joint Research Centre (JRC) has, in fact, given a positive opinion on the use of [separated] urine as a fertiliser substitute,” said Hanskamp.

“The decision making on this in Brussels and the implementation from The Hague is expected to be ready in January 2022.”

Now that the cow toilet is on the official Regulation of Ammonia and Livestock (RAV) list and the system has been assigned a provisional emission factor, livestock farmers can purchase one.

“It can be placed in both new and existing stables,” the CowToilet’s manufacturers say.

“Meanwhile, the first installations have been sold, and deliveries will start from January 2022.”