Chemistry student Nadia Huisjes, a participant in the Dutch chemicals sector talent programme, recently completed her research at OCI Nitrogen. The aim of her study was to discover an ingredient or treatment method that would prevent the fermentation of pig manure on the farm. Fermentation would instead take place in a biogas plant in order to maximise biogas production there.
After a six-month research period, Nadia identified three substances that halt fermentation. They are DAP (diammonium phosphate), NaCl and Eugenol. The study looked at whether chemicals slow the fermentation process, are safe to use, and are economically feasible.
The research took place in the laboratory. Further research is needed to scale up the process to handle larger volumes. Another aim is to find the most efficient way of inducing fermentation in a biogas plant. Economic feasibility is a further point of concern.
This was a trial study for OCI Nitrogen, which is exploring how biogas might one day become a sustainable alternative in its operations. It also gave University of Groningen student Nadia Huisjes a glimpse behind the scenes of the chemicals industry, as well as an outstanding final mark.