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Innovative biofactory designed to help farmers reduce greenhouse gas emissions unveiled

11 Apr 2022 3 minutes Read
The Biofactory team and prototype

An innovative biofactory designed to support Welsh farmers in reducing greenhouse gas emissions has been unveiled as part of a collaboration between Biofactory Energy and Coleg Cambria Llysfasi.

The prototype for the anaerobic digestion system has been built from two shipping containers and is one of three low-carbon initiatives jointly funded by a £500,000 grant from Welsh Government via its Whole System Business Research Innovation for Decarbonisation Challenge (WBRID).

The two shipping containers have been named Neli and Gobaith (Hope) by students at the college and will be painted black and white to resemble dairy cows.

Anaerobic digestion is the natural process in which microorganisms break down organic materials including manure, food scraps, fats oils and greases and sewage sludge (biosolids).

Biogas, a renewable energy source that can be used in a variety of ways, is generated during anaerobic digestion when microorganisms break down organic materials in the absence of oxygen.

The material that is left after anaerobic digestion is called digestate and can be used as fertilizer for crops.

The long-term aim of Biofactory Energy, in partnership with lecturers and learners, is for dairy farms to decrease emissions from slurry management using the pioneering technology, and for the system to become commercially viable and applicable to as many farmers as possible.

Interest

Project Manager George Fisher says interest and feedback from across the agricultural arena is growing:

“The relevance and importance of this scheme has resonated with farmers in North Wales and beyond, partly because this is a scalable AD solution.

“Since announcing WBRID funding had been secured the team at Biofactory Energy have worked swiftly and professionally to deliver this incredible technology, which will be of benefit to dairy farmers but also of great educational value to the learners here at Llysfasi.

“It is one of several developments in the pipeline that will have a major impact on the future of the industry in Wales, as we work with key organisations to support and introduce new, sustainable approaches to farming.

“Micro-AD (Anaerobic Digestion) technology will convert greenhouse gas emissions into energy which will have multiple uses on site, from heating water to refrigeration and powering equipment to clean the dairy.

“This is a major step forward and we are excited to see the results.”

Jon Blake, BioFactory’s Chief Commercial Officer, added: “The deployment at Llysfasi represents the incredible efforts of all the individuals and our engineers, and we’re very excited to begin operations.

“The Micro-AD Farm system has been designed from a new perspective, directly supporting the drive to Net Zero and with the farmers needs firmly at the forefront of our approach to developing this innovative waste to energy technology.

“The system is specifically designed to support farms with between 100 and 500 cows, providing access to the technology and capturing greenhouse gas emissions, creating energy for use on farm.

“Using the biogas to generate energy off-sets the reliance on grid power and reduces costs, which is particularly relevant in these current, turbulent market conditions.

“We look forward to building our relationship with Llysfasi and seeing the wider deployment of the Micro-Ad Farm system across Wales.”


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