A critical review on livestock manure biorefinery technologies: Sustainability, challenges, and future perspectives

Benyamin Khoshnevisan, Na Duan*, Panagiotis Tsapekos, Mukesh Kumar Awasthi, Zhidan Liu, Ali Mohammadi, Irini Angelidaki, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Zengqiang Zhang, Junting Pan, Lin Ma, Mortaza Aghbashlo, Meisam Tabatabaei, Hongbin Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


An ever increasing demand for animal protein products has posed serious challenges for managing the increasing quantities of livestock manure. The choice of treatment technologies is still a complicated task and considerable debates over this issue still continue. To build a clearer picture of manure treatment framework, this study was conducted to review the most frequently employed manure management technologies from their state of the art, challenges, sustainability, environmental regulations and incentives, and improvement strategies perspectives. The results showed that most treatment technologies have focused on the solid fraction of manure while the liquid fraction still remains a potential environmental threat. Compared to other waste to energy solutions, anaerobic digestion is the most mature technology to upgrade manure's organic matter into renewable energy, however the problems associated with high investment costs, operating parameters, manure collection, and digestate management have hindered its developments in rural areas in developing countries. Bio-oil production through hydrothermal liquification is also a promising solution, as it can directly convert the wet manure into biofuel. However, lipid-poor nature of manure, operational difficulties, and the need for downstream process to remove nitrogenous compounds from the final product necessitate further research. Livestock manure management (both solid and liquid fractions) under biorefinery approach seems an inevitable solution for future sustainable development to meet circular bioeconomy requirements. Much research is still required to establish a systematic framework based on regional requirements to develop an integrated manure nutrient recycling and manure management planning with minimum environmental risks and maximum profit.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110033
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Circular bioeconomy
  • Compost
  • Livestock manure
  • Nutrient recovery


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