Carbon Dioxide Production in Animal Houses: A literature review

S. Pedersen, V. Blanes-Vidal, H. Joergensen, A. Chwalibog, A. Haeussermann, M.J.W. Heetkamp, A.J.A. Aarnink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article deals with carbon dioxide production from farm animals; more specifically, it addresses the possibilities of using the measured carbon dioxide concentration in animal houses as basis for estimation of ventilation flow (as the ventilation flow is a key parameter of aerial emissions from animal houses). The investigations include measurements in respiration chambers and in animal houses, mainly for growing pigs and broilers. Over the last decade a fixed carbon dioxide production of 185 litres per hour per heat production unit, hpu (i.e. 1000 W of the total animal heat production at 20 oC) has often been used. The article shows that the carbon dioxide production per hpu increases with increasing respiration quotient. As the respiration quotient increases with body mass for growing animals, the carbon dioxide production per heat production unit also increases with increased body mass. The carbon dioxide production is e.g. less than 185 litres per hour per hpu for weaners and broilers and higher for growing finishing pigs and cows. The analyses show that the measured carbon dioxide production is higher in full scale animal houses than measured in respiration chambers, due to differences in manure handling. In respiration chambers there is none or very limited carbon dioxide contribution from manure; unlike in animal houses, where a certain carbon dioxide contribution from manure handling may be foreseen. Therefore, it is necessary to make a correction of data from respiration chambers, when used in full scale animal buildings as basis for estimation of ventilation flow. Based on the data reviewed in this study, we recommend adding 10% carbon dioxide production to the laboratory based carbon dioxide production for animal houses with slatted or solid floors, provided that indoor manure cellars are emptied regularly in a four weeks interval. Due to a high and variable carbon dioxide production in deep straw litter houses and houses with indoor storage of manure longer than four weeks, we do not recommend to calculate the ventilation flow based on the carbon dioxide concentration for these houses.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalAgricultural Engineering International
Issue numberBC 08 008
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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