Felix Buabeng

Participant: PROMISE AGEP Research Symposium


Felix Buabeng

Department: Department of Mechanical Engineering

Institution: University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)



Improving Poultry House Heating Using Non-Photovoltaic Solar-Heat Collection System and In-Vessel Poultry Litter Composting and Nitrogen Stabilization

Currently, poultry producers are faced with two major challenges: significant cost increases for poultry house heating and increasing scrutiny of environmental impacts from NH3-N and other volatile losses. These issues require innovative development and adaptation of environmentally and economically sustainable management technologies. The objectives of our study were to reduce on-farm operational costs and environmental impacts associated with poultry production and litter management by 1) assessing the capacity of heat captured from a non-photovoltaic solar collection system to reduce expenditures for heating fuel supplied to houses, and 2) increasing nitrogen stabilization through in-vessel composting of poultry litter. Solar-wall curtains were installed on an existing poultry house for heat collection, while four,
2.29m3 in-vessel composting bins were installed outside the Poultry Research facility. The solar curtain and poultry room temperatures peaked at 71°C and 37°C, respectively, compared to outdoor ambient temperature of 19°C, and thus produced a 34°C differential between the solar air and the poultry room temperature and 52°C differential between solar air and outdoor to ambient temperature. Average maximum temperatures recorded in our composting vessels ranged from 64-72°C, and the average minimum temperatures ranged from 6-10°C, during ambient periods when temperatures ranged from -11 to 28°C. This study indicates the potential for substantial supplementation of heat through non-photovoltaic solar and compost sources, thus, improving the profitability and sustainability of small and medium size poultry growers. In addition, in-vessel composting was more than adequate to reduce pathogens, stabilize nutrients, and eliminate noxious volatile emissions from the treated litter.



Ammonia Emission Management Using Gas-permeable Membrane  Systems in a Poultry House

Volatilization of ammonia (NH3) gas from poultry manure is one of the major environmental and human health concerns associated with confined poultry production. Undue accumulation of NH3 in a confined poultry house can adversely affect the health of both workers and birds. This study examined modules of NH3 removal approaches using a gas-permeable flat membrane system and a tubular membrane system placed inside a 6.0 m X 6.0 m room in a poultry house. The systems were started by preparing 5N H2SO4 in an acid tank and a pH 1 solution in a concentration tank. Acids were added to the concentration tank manually to achieve a pH of 2, and then the pH pump controller and the membrane circulation modules were used to bring the pH back to 1. The membrane manifolds captured free ammonia in the air of the room. Gaseous NH3 selectively passes through microporous, hydrophobic, gas-permeable membranes and is captured in a circulated acidic solution with accompanying production of a concentrated ammonium salt. Once NH3 gas passed through the membrane and was in contact with the acidic solution ammonium (NH+4) salt was formed, which was retained and concentrated in the acidic solution. The experiment consisted of three treatments namely; 1) Control with no birds and membrane systems, 2) birds alone, and 3) birds with both membrane systems, with separate rooms per treatments. Each room contained 400 birds with old litter on the floor. The results of this study indicated a 24% decrease in ammonia emissions in the room with the installed system when compared to the room without the system. Bird mortality rate was higher in the control room (6.5%) as compared to the room with the installed system (2.5%).



Felix Buabeng was born and raised in a small town in Ghana where is obtained his High School Diploma and Associate Degree from Kwadaso Agriculture College. He latter enrolled at the University of Education-College of Agriculture to pursue a Degree in Agriculture Education but later transferred to University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) in 2009 to finish his bachelor degree. He holds a Master of Science in Food and Agriculture Science from UMES. During his tenure at UMES while pursuing the Master of Science Degree he interned with UMES Extension Nutrition Specialist to grow vegetables in high tunnels and promote healthy eating and lifestyle. He worked with the UMES Office of International Program to assist in promoting international programs and activities and after graduation employed as Research Assistant in the Department of Agriculture and Natural Sciences.  Because of his interest in Rural Agriculture Development and Sustainability, his Master’s research focused on the use of ICT in Agriculture eXtension education to empower rural farmer’s productivity and access to information. He is currently enrolled in the Doctorial Program in Food Science and Technology at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

His academic training and research experience have provided him with an excellent background in agriculture disciplines including Agriculture education and extension, microbiology, food safety and alternative energy. He hope to extend that knowledge to rural communities to contribute in rural development



I am investigating the use of models to reduce and recover ammonia from a poultry house. Currently there is growing concern from poultry producers and the general public in implementing the best control technologies that would abate ammonia emissions from confined poultry operations. In this study, I am evaluating the use of gas-permeable membrane modules as components of new processes to capture and recover gaseous ammonia inside confined poultry houses. The overall research objective is to improve air quality in poultry houses and its
surrounding environment with the introduction of ammonia emission capturing technology.  The models will be expected to help reduce famers cost of production and provide clean environment by Capturing ammonia air and contain it. Containerized ammonia can be used as agriculture fertilizer to boost crop production. This study also combines an innovative solar heat collection and heat exchange technology with an in-vessel biofiltration/composting technology. The study also combine existing technologies and adapt others to produce an integrated biomechanical solar-based system to reduce on-farm energy costs and provide environmentally compatible waste management, while capturing fugitive ammonia, reducing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and producing an organic biofertilizer.  This project is unique in that it builds on existing research partnerships between UMES and USDA-ARS-BARC, and the UMES Small Farms Program.


 Conference Papers

1. Investigating the Growth of Oyster Mushroom in a Greenhouse Environment Using Wheat Straw as a Substrate. Felix Buabeng, Corrie Cotton, and Albert Y. Chi.  Presented at UMES 6th Annual Research Symposium, 2015

2. Evaluation of Trichoderma, Vesicular-Arbuscular Mychorrizae, and Azospirillum On Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Pepper: Vegetative Stage,  Presented at ASHS Annual

3. Evaluation of a Non-Photovoltaic Solar-Heat Collection System and In-Vessel Poultry Litter Composting for Poultry House Heating. Buabeng, Felix .1, Hashem, F.M.1 Archibald, J.2, McNelly J.3 Timmons, J1, Dadson, R.B.1, Millner, P.D. 4  Presented at Professional Agricultural Workers Conference (PAWC), 2015

4. Capturing and Recovering of Ammonia Using Gas Permeable Flat and Tubular Membrane Systems in a Poultry House. Buabeng, F1, Hashem, F.M1, Vanotti, M.B.2; Millner, P.D, 3 Brigman, P.W.2, Timmons, J1, Dadson, R. B. Presented at ASA, CSSA, and SSSA Annual Meeting, 2015

Disclaimer: Information on this page has been provided by and is owned by the student presenter.

%d bloggers like this: