Welsh AD project receives share of £500,000 fund

Three low-carbon projects, including an anaerobic digestion (AD) system, have been given £500,000 (€581,000) in grant support from the Welsh Government.

The three schemes will be based at Coleg Cambria Llysfasi, a college in Denbighshire, and pioneer new technology aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the agriculture sector. They are funded by the Welsh Government via its Whole System Business Research Innovation for Decarbonisation Challenge (WBRID) and supported by the North Wales Economic Ambition Board.

One of the projects is a low-cost, modular AD system for small-medium Welsh dairy farms to reduce GHG emissions from slurry management, by BioFactory Energy. A prototype plant is expected to be on-site in 2022 that will generate energy for the farm and improve slurry quality for spreading.

The other projects are a collaboration between the college, Menai Science Park on Anglesey and businesses to explore the potential for drones to identify on-land issues, such as weed growth, and a project to develop a bilingual carbon footprint resource for farmers in North Wales with Promar International.

The farming industry is pivotal to North Wales, employing around 7% of the workforce and contributing more than £370 million to the economy annually.

Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters, recently visited the college to see for himself the range of leading technologies and innovative solutions in development.

“We’ve all got to quickly adapt to the challenge of understanding what achieving net-zero emissions means for the way we go about things,” said Waters.

“The existing work being done at Llysfasi shows that the action we need to take to tackle carbon can also bring about much wider benefits. I’m pleased our Smart Living initiative is trialling new ways of doing things that can be used right across Wales.”

Jon Blake, BioFactory’s chief commercial officer, commented: “The collaboration with Coleg Cambria Llysfasi has been instrumental in enabling the development of our micro-AD technology, which is much needed in the sector and will enable more Welsh farmers to access the benefits of AD in the drive for net-zero farming.”

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