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John Classen

Associate Professor

Weaver Administration Bldg 112

Publications

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Grants

Date: 10/01/21 - 9/30/26
Amount: $4,999,334.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

The Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability (STEPS) Center is a convergence research hub for addressing the fundamental challenges associated with phosphorus sustainability. The vision of STEPS is to develop new scientific and technological solutions to regulating, recovering and reusing phosphorus that can readily be adopted by society through fundamental research conducted by a broad, highly interdisciplinary team. Key outcomes include new atomic-level knowledge of phosphorus interactions with engineered and natural materials, new understanding of phosphorus mobility at industrial, farm, and landscape scales, and prioritization of best management practices and strategies drawn from diverse stakeholder perspectives. Ultimately, STEPS will provide new scientific understanding, enabling new technologies, and transformative improvements in phosphorus sustainability.

Date: 03/01/17 - 2/28/23
Amount: $499,998.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

This project is to address AFRI Foundational Program Area Priority in "Agricultural Engineering [A1521]". Through an environmentally controlled study and a field investigation, this project will develop and evaluate an engineering product to mitigate heat stress in heavy broilers and ammonia emission for improved broiler production performance and welfare. The specific objectives are to: (1) Obtain heat and moisture production values for heavy broilers under different temperature (T), relative humidity (RH) and air velocity (AV) set points; (2) Assess impact of the high AV for different T and RH set points under summer conditions on the performance and welfare of heavy broilers; (3) Develop a retractable baffle system to re-distribute ventilation air, thereby increasing airflow at the bird height in the grow-out cycle to mitigate heat stress in heavy broilers; (4) Evaluate the effects of the baffle system and the resultant improved airflow on the existing housing ventilation system, ammonia and particulate matter concentrations as well as broiler performance and welfare. The project will be conducted by a multidisciplinary team with expertise in broiler production and welfare, housing environmental control, air quality, and waste management. This project will produce (1) new knowledge on heat and moisture production of heavy broilers under different T/RH/AV combinations; (2) a cost-effective engineering solution for mitigating heat stress and air quality to improve heavy broiler performance and welfare. Knowledge obtained will help guide the poultry industry to improve engineering design of housing ventilation system for welfare friendly and sustainable production systems.

Date: 03/28/19 - 12/31/22
Amount: $876,130.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Interior (DOI)

The Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department (BAE) at North Carolina State University, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), will implement infrastructure improvement projects at the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge that will moderate current prohibitions of public access and enhance ecosystem function and services. The Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is an important ecosystem at the intersection of southern Virginia agricultural areas and coastal waterways connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. The Knight Farm and the Meiggs Farm, part of the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, contain several animal waste storage and treatment structures which have been unused for several years. These structures limit public access to this area for safety reasons. Recent tests show nutrient levels in the water are very low but the concentrations in the detritus is unknown. This project will determine the nutrient concentrations throughout these structures, delineate the hydrological connections between the structures and nearby creeks, and suggest design strategies that will restore ecosystem services and reduce the limitations of public access to these areas. This scope of work focuses on the Knight Farm; anticipated additional funds will be used to address similar issues at the Meiggs Farm. The Knight Farm encompasses three animal waste storage and treatment structures that have not been used for over 15 years. The location of these structures relative to Nanny Creek and to drainage ditches in nearby fields suggests that groundwater hydrology must be investigated before infrastructure improvements may be planned. BAE will investigate the groundwater gradient in the area using a series of monitoring wells. Nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations in the water are below levels that require special consideration but the material in the bottom of these structures may contain higher concentrations that require alternative management. BAE will determine the concentration and approximate volume of these materials and develop plans for removal and appropriate use. Considering the priorities of the USFWS and the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, BAE will propose plans to reform the animal waste storage and treatment structures to remove the inherent hazards that limit public access and to enhance the ecosystem and functional use of the Knight Farm. Plans will be considered with different goals of least total cost and best use of the area. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will be consulted to ensure plans and procedures meet state guidelines. The process developed will be a useful guide to future projects in Virginia and other Southeast coastal areas.

Date: 05/28/21 - 8/31/22
Amount: $14,063.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

John J. Classen will provide project management services and contribute towards the development of cohort challenges and toolbox modules in support of the project entitled “INFEWS/T4: The INFEWS-ER: a Virtual Resource Center Enabling Graduate Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems.” Specifically, Classen will return two learning modules, Effectively Communicating Science and Environmental and Economic Modeling used to support this effort. He will also contribute to the development and delivery of cohort challenges and mentor two graduate students to assist with preparing learning modules and cohort challenges.

Date: 08/15/18 - 7/31/22
Amount: $323,019.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

Overview: In the United States, animal feeding operations (AFOs) emit approximately 2.5 million tons of ammonia (NH3) per year, contributing to about 85% of total NH3 emissions in the nation. Emission, fate, transport and transformation of AFO NH3 have become an increasing concern due to the associated adverse effects on air/water/ soil health/quality and ecosystem. Ammonia emissions contribute to the formation of secondary inorganic particulate matter (iPM2.5), and NH3 deposition contributes to the eutrophication of surface water and acidification of the ecosystem. While the scientific community has a fundamental understanding of the N cycle, the reduced N form is the least known part of the cycle. Scientific understanding of the reduced N in the environment needs to be strengthened to quantify the dynamic exchange of N species (e.g., from NH3 gas to NH4+ particulate) across air-soil-water interfaces. The overall goal of the project is to advance our understanding of ecological and environmental impacts of atmospheric “N” on air-soil health by (1) establishing a science-based understanding of fate, transport, and transformation of AFOs NH3 emissions; (2) transferring the new knowledge to students, industry, regulators, and the public through various educational and outreach programs. The project will accomplish the following specific objectives: (1) Quantifying NH3 and particulate NH4+ dry deposition as impacted by NH3 emissions, land usage and meteorological conditions in AFO environments; (2) Estimating transformation of emitted NH3 to secondary iPM2.5 as impacted by NH3 emissions, distance from source, atmospheric chemical & meteorological conditions; (3) Quantifying the impacts of NH3 and NH4+ depositions on soil chemical and biological properties, including microbial biomass, stoichimetry of nitrogen transformations, pH.

Date: 03/01/17 - 5/31/22
Amount: $218,757.00
Funding Agencies: Precision Fabricating & Cleaning Co.

The goal of this project is to develop the operational procedures to recover urine from a swine production facility and to stabilize the urea in the recovered material. A manure scraper system will be installed under the floors of a pig barn. The collection system diverts liquids to a separate treatment system from the manure solids. We will verify the urea preservation with 3 different urease inhibitors: sulfuric acid to pH < 3.0; sodium hydroxide to pH > 12.0; and NBPT.

Date: 09/20/12 - 8/31/16
Amount: $10,000.00
Funding Agencies: Murphy-Brown, LLC (was Murphy Farms)

A common waste management technique in swine production is to use water to flush manure from under floor pits to a lagoon for anaerobic treatment and storage prior to land application as fertilizer. A large fraction of the ammonia nitrogen is lost in this system through volatilization from the lagoon and from the spray fields. With the high cost of nitrogen fertilizer and increased emphasis on preventing environmental and ecologIical contamination, many producers would welcome a system that makes better use of manure nutrients, particularly to fertilize animal feed crops. The swine production industry is widely dispersed relative to the primary production of corn and soybeans in the Midwest; therefore more efficient nutrient recovery must be accompanied by greater nutrient concentration to reduce transportation costs. A new process developed by USDA-ARS scientists (Vanotti, M.B. and Szogi, A.A, US Patent Application SN 13/164,363, June 20, 2011) includes the passage of gaseous (or free) ammonia through a microporous hydrophobic membrane and subsequent capture and concentration in an acidic stripping solution on the other side of the membrane. This project will demonstrate this gas permeable ammonia-selective membrane system in three different manure collection systems: the NCSU under floor belt system (current CIG demonstration under NRCS Agreement #69-3A75-10-165), an under floor scraper system, and a mesophilic anaerobic digester. The purpose of the project is to remove at least 50% of the ammonia nitrogen in a concentrated form that can be economically moved off the farm and managed as a valuable resource. The project plan is to develop a modular mobile membrane ammonia recovery system with appropriate tanks, pumps and supplies; this mobile system will be moved to each of three sites where effluent will be stored in an on-site tank. The membrane ammonia recovery module will be connected into the on-site tank and ammonia will be removed into the acid solution on the mobile unit. Evaluation will quantify the mass and fraction of ammonia removal, the mass and fraction of ammonia left for on-site application, the final concentration, and the required processing time. Economic analysis will predict the value of the final product and the cost at different distances from the farm at different fuel price points. The project is innovative in that this is the first viable system to concentrate ammonia nitrogen for better management rather than removing wastewater or reducing the ammonia to nitrogen gas. We expect to develop design and operational guidelines in order to transfer this technology for adaptation as an on-farm system or expand the system to treat larger amounts of wastewater. This project builds on both the existing CIG demonstration of the under floor belt system and the patented work of USDA-ARS scientists.

Date: 09/20/12 - 8/31/16
Amount: $18,000.00
Funding Agencies: NC Pork Council

A common waste management technique in swine production is to use water to flush manure from under floor pits to a lagoon for anaerobic treatment and storage prior to land application as fertilizer. A large fraction of the ammonia nitrogen is lost in this system through volatilization from the lagoon and from the spray fields. With the high cost of nitrogen fertilizer and increased emphasis on preventing environmental and ecological contamination, many producers would welcome a system that makes better use of manure nutrients, particularly to fertilize animal feed crops. The swine production industry is widely dispersed relative to the primary production of corn and soybeans in the Midwest; therefore more efficient nutrient recovery must be accompanied by greater nutrient concentration to reduce transportation costs. A new process developed by USDA-ARS scientists (Vanotti, M.B. and Szogi, A.A, US Patent Application SN 13/164,363, June 20, 2011) includes the passage of gaseous (or free) ammonia through a microporous hydrophobic membrane and subsequent capture and concentration in an acidic stripping solution on the other side of the membrane. This project will demonstrate this gas permeable ammonia-selective membrane system in three different manure collection systems: the NCSU under floor belt system (current CIG demonstration under NRCS Agreement #69-3A75-10-165), an under floor scraper system, and a mesophilic anaerobic digester. The purpose of the project is to remove at least 50% of the ammonia nitrogen in a concentrated form that can be economically moved off the farm and managed as a valuable resource. The project plan is to develop a modular mobile membrane ammonia recovery system with appropriate tanks, pumps and supplies; this mobile system will be moved to each of three sites where effluent will be stored in an on-site tank. The membrane ammonia recovery module will be connected into the on-site tank and ammonia will be removed into the acid solution on the mobile unit. Evaluation will quantify the mass and fraction of ammonia removal, the mass and fraction of ammonia left for on-site application, the final concentration, and the required processing time. Economic analysis will predict the value of the final product and the cost at different distances from the farm at different fuel price points. The project is innovative in that this is the first viable system to concentrate ammonia nitrogen for better management rather than removing wastewater or reducing the ammonia to nitrogen gas. We expect to develop design and operational guidelines in order to transfer this technology for adaptation as an on-farm system or expand the system to treat larger amounts of wastewater. This project builds on both the existing CIG demonstration of the under floor belt system and the patented work of USDA-ARS scientists.

Date: 09/20/12 - 8/31/16
Amount: $293,151.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)

A common waste management technique in swine production is to use water to flush manure from under floor pits to a lagoon for anaerobic treatment and storage prior to land application as fertilizer. A large fraction of the ammonia nitrogen is lost in this system through volatilization from the lagoon and from the spray fields. With the high cost of nitrogen fertilizer and increased emphasis on preventing environmental and ecological contamination, many producers would welcome a system that makes better use of manure nutrients, particularly to fertilize animal feed crops. The swine production industry is widely dispersed relative to the primary production of corn and soybeans in the Midwest; therefore more efficient nutrient recovery must be accompanied by greater nutrient concentration to reduce transportation costs. A new process developed by USDA-ARS scientists (Vanotti, M.B. and Szogi, A.A, US Patent Application SN 13/164,363, June 20, 2011) includes the passage of gaseous (or free) ammonia through a microporous hydrophobic membrane and subsequent capture and concentration in an acidic stripping solution on the other side of the membrane. This project will demonstrate this gas permeable ammonia-selective membrane system in three different manure collection systems: the NCSU under floor belt system (current CIG demonstration under NRCS Agreement #69-3A75-10-165), an under floor scraper system, and a mesophilic anaerobic digester. The purpose of the project is to remove at least 50% of the ammonia nitrogen in a concentrated form that can be economically moved off the farm and managed as a valuable resource. The project plan is to develop a modular mobile membrane ammonia recovery system with appropriate tanks, pumps and supplies; this mobile system will be moved to each of three sites where effluent will be stored in an on-site tank. The membrane ammonia recovery module will be connected into the on-site tank and ammonia will be removed into the acid solution on the mobile unit. Evaluation will quantify the mass and fraction of ammonia removal, the mass and fraction of ammonia left for on-site application, the final concentration, and the required processing time. Economic analysis will predict the value of the final product and the cost at different distances from the farm at different fuel price points. The project is innovative in that this is the first viable system to concentrate ammonia nitrogen for better management rather than removing wastewater or reducing the ammonia to nitrogen gas. We expect to develop design and operational guidelines in order to transfer this technology for adaptation as an on-farm system or expand the system to treat larger amounts of wastewater. This project builds on both the existing CIG demonstration of the under floor belt system and the patented work of USDA-ARS scientists.

Date: 09/22/10 - 9/30/15
Amount: $659,655.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)

Three new swine barns will be built in Harnett County with an under floor belt collection system that separately collects solid and liquid from the manure stream. The solids will be used in an energy recovery system (digester or gasifier) while the liquids will be stored in a covered tank until land applied on site. The system will be analyzed for nutrient reduction, pathogen reduction, ammonia emissions, odor, energy production and energy consumption. An economic analysis will include the capital costs, operational cost, the value of the net energy recovered and any impacts on the productivity of the animals.


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