2023 Activity Report vol.10:Kanazawa University

Activity Report of Open Application Program 2023 vol.10 (Course A)

International learning program on livestock manure management technology, focused on the keywords "protection of public health" and "measures against climate change"

Report from Kanazawa University

 A mixture of undergraduate students and graduate students came to Japan to attend this program in Kanazawa University between August 26 and September 1, 2023. The participants consisted of two people from Tsinghua University in China, one from the Institute of Technology of Cambodia in Cambodia, one from the Prince of Songkla University in Thailand, one from Andalas University in Indonesia, one from the University of Ruhuna in Sri Lanka, two from the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies in India, and two from the University of Chittagong in Bangladesh.

 This program was characterized by the diverse nationalities of the invited students—we invited a total of 10 students from seven universities in seven countries in East, South‑east, and South Asia, as stated above. There were also 28 graduate students from Kanazawa University, and when we include their nationalities as well, students (visiting and from our university) from a total of 10 countries in East, South‑east, and South Asia engaged in the activities of this program. We made the most of the diverse nationalities of the participants to focus on the subject of management methods for livestock manure, as various techniques are used for this in different Asian countries; the theme was "Designing livestock manure management methods suited to Asian countries with consideration for the protection of public health and measures against climate change." More specifically, the program's activities included lectures, laboratory tours, viewing facilities, groupwork, and presentations.

 All of the visiting students and the Kanazawa University students were affiliated with faculties and graduate schools for engineering, but they had a range of majors. We therefore asked them to gather information on manure management methods in their own country or country of study as preliminary learning. At the start of the program, Kanazawa University faculty members gave lectures, providing an explanation and overview of the spread of drug‑resistant bacteria and greenhouse gas emissions, both of which are urgent environmental problems caused by the management of livestock manure, and talking about the main livestock manure management methods used in different Asian countries. The students also toured Kanazawa University's laboratories, and were introduced to the latest research and experimental equipment for environmental and energy engineering. Students from Kanazawa University gave research presentations and performed simulation experiments in a laboratory that is working to clarify the environmental dynamics of antibiotics for livestock, which has a close relationship with this program.

 Livestock manure management technologies that could be the key to both the protection of public health and measures against climate change include methane fermentation and biogas power generation. The students toured the biomass methane fermentation facility in Nakanoto Town, Ishikawa Prefecture, one of the few biogas plants in Japan. After receiving an explanation of the configuration of the facilities as a whole, the students were able to view the equipment through which the plant receives its raw materials (sewage sludge and food waste), the pre‑processing equipment that uses microwave irradiation, the methane fermentation tanks and biogas tanks, the electricity generation equipment from biogas, the vacuum dryer for methane fermentation residue, and the dried sludge fertilizer. There was time for questions after the tour, and the visiting students asked questions more actively than expected, including: What can be done to improve the efficiency of methane generation? What issues might we have if we were to create a similar facility in our own countries? What are the optimal raw materials? What is the cost performance? Are there any risks of accidents with biogas tanks? We could see that the students were very interested in their tour.

Activity Report Photo 1
Tour of biomass methane fermentation facility in Nakanoto Town, Ishikawa Prefecture
Left: Group photo in front of a methane fermentation tank
Right: Listening to an explanation by Mr. Sawa from Nakanoto Town in front of a biogas tank

 For groupwork, the students formed five groups of seven or eight people, which were a mixture of the visiting students and the Kanazawa University students. Each group selected a country, and held discussions based on the knowledge they had gained through lectures and the facility tour, focusing on (ⅰ) the current livestock manure management methods used in that country, (ⅱ) the livestock manure management methods that could be optimal for that country, and (ⅲ) the advantages and disadvantages of those optimal livestock manure management methods from the perspectives of public health, climate change, and livestock farm management. At the interim presentations, faculty members gave opinions on each group's presentation from the perspectives of presentation structure and specialist knowledge, while the final presentation session saw questions and answers mainly between students. The participants gave well‑considered, polished presentations at the final presentation session, and their questions and answers were high quality and lively. They stated opinions based on their own ideas with a good understanding of the topic, and we saw high‑level discussions between students from different countries and cultures. The participants were on good terms from the start to the end of the program, including at the opinion exchange session after the completion ceremony, regardless of their countries of origin and universities, and we were able to see them building relationships of trust.

Activity Report Photo 2
Groupwork (top line, lower right) and presentations (lower left)

 In the survey after the program, the students told us that "Viewing the biomass methane fermentation facility and working in groups with students from multiple countries were particularly enlightening. I would have liked a slightly longer program." Not only the visiting students, but also the Kanazawa University students felt that this was a brilliant experience.

 Finally, we would like to offer our sincere thanks to the Sakura Science Program for its generous support, all of the Kanazawa University faculty members, staff, and students who cooperated with this program, and everyone at the Nakanoto Town biomass methane fermentation facility.

Activity Report Photo 3
The completion ceremony (Left: Group photo; Right: After being awarded certificates of completion)