Nutrient rich spent litter is typically stockpiled for composting before land application. Key concerns with this handling are uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient leaching. The solid phase leachbed (solid-phase anaerobic digester) has been identified as a potential anaerobic digestion technology for on-farm treatment of solid manure residue, as it is simpler and cost-effective compared to technology alternatives and promotes energy and nutrient recovery from waste. This project will study the performance of pilot-scale leachbed (200L) for treatment of spent litter from piggeries for decentralised agriculture application.


  • Quantum Power Limited
  • Australian Egg Corporation Limited
  • Port CRC
  • Australian Pork

Project Outcomes


  • Pilot trials showed recovery of 50% methane potential recovery from spent bedding.
  • Process performance was hindered by insufficient solid-liquid contact, but ultimately biological inhibition due to dissolved organic compound (eg. ammonia, humic substances).
  • Overall study highlighted potential for leachbeds at full-scale treating solid manure residues, but indicate the need for further research to mitigate biological inhibition for better efficiency.


  • Provide sustainable anaerobic digestion alternatives for agricultural and municipal waste residues by creating business opportunities and enhance profitability for agriculture.
  • Overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Provide data for the development of future carbon emissions abatement policy and legislation in Australia.


  • Yap, S.D., Astals, S., Jensen, P.D., Batstone, D.J., Tait, S. 2016. Pilot-scale testing of a leachbed for anaerobic digestion of livestock residues on-farm. Waste Management, 50, 300–308.

The project featured in a video program by The National Agricultural Manure Management Program (NAMMP).

Project members

Other members

  • Shao Dong Yap
  • Dr Sergi Astals-Garcia
  • Dr Stephen Tait