Design and calibration of chambers for the measurement of housed dairy cow gaseous emissions
The increased global demand for milk and other dairy products over the past decade has heightened concerns about the potential for increased environmental impacts. Accurate measurement of gas emissions from dairy cows is essential to assess the effects of cow diets and other management practices on both the composition and rate of gas emissions. In this article, methodologies are described to instrument, calibrate, and assess the uncertainty of gas emissions by cows housed in chambers that simulate production settings. The supply and exhaust ducts of each chamber were equipped with pitot tubes, temperature and relative humidity probes, and gas samplers to monitor airflow rates, gas composition, and gas emission rates. A Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) instrument was used to quantify gaseous concentrations in the gas samples on a semi-continuous basis. The measurement uncertainty of the rate of gaseous emission from the chambers was quantified, and gas concentration and differential pressure, as measured by the pitot tubes, were identified as the primary parameters contributing to gas emission uncertainties. Mass recovery tests determined that the recovery of methane from each chamber was within 10% of the released mass. Fan operating curves were experimentally determined to identify optimum differential chamber pressures to minimize gas leakage from the chambers. A computational fluid dynamics model was developed to assess air mixing patterns and define steady-state conditions. The model was validated with experimental data of air velocity within each chamber. These procedures will facilitate accurate measurement of gas emissions from housed dairy cows and provide a laboratory to test various gas mitigation treatments. Keywords: Computational fluid dynamics, Dairy, Emission chamber.
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