Development of a methyl bromide collection system for fumigated farmland.
Recent research has indicated that up to 73% of the methyl bromide (MeBr) applied to agricultural farmland is ultimately emitted to the atmosphere despite the practice of complete coverage of the fields with polyethylene (PE) tarp. To reduce the emission of MeBr, several techniques have been investigated. An alternative that has received little consideration is the collection and recycle or treatment of MeBr emissions. We investigated the potential of using a two-layer tarp system for collecting the MeBr. Laboratory experiments with a small two-layer diffusion reactor were conducted to determine the mass transfer coefficient (K) of MeBr through tarps and to validate a model of the collection system. For PE tarps K was 1.15 x 10(-6) m s-1 at 20 degrees C and 5.2 x 10(-6) m s-1 at 60 degrees C. K for so-called virtually impermeable films ranged from 4.6 x 10(-10) m s-1 to 1.3 x 10(-8) m s-1. The mathematical model was then used to simulate a full scale fumigant field application. Results indicate excellent agreement between the model, laboratory experiments, and previous field studies. Total emission from the field was a function of the air exchange rate through the swept volume between the two layers, the length of time the field is covered by the collection system, and the mass transfer coefficient of MeBr though the tarps. The results indicate that the proposed two-layer system can be very effective in collecting MeBr emissions from fumigated farmland.
Chitwood, DE; Deshusses, MA
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