10 July 2012
A specialist in anaerobic digestion (AD) was awarded £25k of funding towards an innovative feasibility study by the Minister for Agriculture at a ceremony in the House of Commons last night (9 July).
In collaboration with longstanding client McKnight Transport Ltd, WYG, a multi-disciplinary consultant with experts holding 12 years’ experience in the AD industry, was awarded the funding for a study into an innovative idea that could benefit both livestock and arable farmers and reduce carbon emissions associated with inorganic fertiliser.
The driving innovation funds were awarded by the Technology Strategy Board and Defra, who have allocated up to £500k for twenty feasibility studies investigating innovative ideas that will enhance efficiency, improve competitiveness and promote growth in the agriculture, food and drink industries.
Kevin Monson, Anaerobic Digestion Principal Consultant, WYG said: “The aim of our research is to investigate the technical, practical, environmental and economic viability of pelletising anaerobic digestate and chicken litter into customised fertiliser pellets.
“As well as benefitting the anaerobic digestion industry and reducing carbon emissions associated with the manufacture of inorganic fertiliser, this innovative idea would benefit both livestock and arable farmers.
“At present it is not economical to transport slurry between livestock and arable areas due to its high water content. Concentrating nutrients from chicken litter, slurries and anaerobic digestate into a solid pellet, customised and supplemented to be of maximum use for farmers, could prove an economically viable way to move nutrients between livestock intensive areas (where nitrogen is a problem) and arable areas (where it is a resource). This would benefit arable farmers by reducing fertiliser costs, and benefit livestock farmers by enabling them to expand operations. There would be positive impacts on local rural economies by increasing agricultural output.”
WYG will be leading and managing the project, which is anticipated to begin in August 2012, on behalf of McKnight Transport Ltd and findings will be published at the end of the year.
Noel McKnight, Director, McKnight Transport Ltd commented: “Together with our partners at WYG, we have long recognised the need for both energy and agriculture in NI to become more sustainable.
“We are delighted that our innovative ideas have received the backing of the Technology strategy Board and DEFRA, and look forward to working with WYG towards the development and practical implementation of these ideas.”
The Technology Strategy Board aims to drive innovation and stimulate technology-enabled innovation in the areas which offer the greatest scope for boosting UK growth and productivity.
Photo caption: Left to right; Jim Paice (Minister for Agriculture), Noel McKnight (McKnight Transport Ltd), Kevin Monson, (WYG)