Micro AD system to help Welsh farmers cut emissions
The innovative anaerobic digestion (AD) system was unveiled by Biofactory Energy and Coleg Cambria Llysfasi, supported by Ambition North Wales. It is one of three low-carbon initiatives jointly funded by a £500,000 (€597,000) grant from the Welsh Government via its Whole System Business Research Innovation for Decarbonisation Challenge (WBRID).
The long-term aim of Biofactory Energy, in partnership with lecturers and learners, is for Welsh dairy farms to decrease emissions from slurry management using pioneering technology and for the system to become commercially viable and applicable to as many farmers as possible.
Micro AD technology will be used to generate energy that will have multiple uses on-site, from heating water to refrigeration and powering equipment to clean the dairy. The system is designed to support farms with 100-500 cows.
“The relevance and importance of this scheme have resonated with farmers in North Wales and beyond, partly because this is a scalable AD solution,” said project manager George Fisher.
“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.”
The dairy farming industry is important to North Wales, employing 7% of the workforce and contributing more than £370 million to the economy each year.
Llysfasi farm manager, Dewi Jones, commented: “We are very much looking forward to trialling and seeing the benefits of this new technology.
“The idea of a small- to medium-scale AD unit appeals to us as it can hopefully be replicated on many farms across Wales, compared to other larger-scale AD plants that can be expensive to set up and, therefore, only available to a few farmers.”
Two shipping containers were transformed into a prototype plant have been named Neli and Gobaith (Hope) by students at Coleg Cambria Llysfasi and will be painted black and white to resemble dairy cows.