Six Northern Ireland companies have been awarded a total of Pound 600,000 to develop practical and environmentally friendly solutions for livestock slurry.
A key aim of this DAERA led project is to reduce surplus phosphorus and ensure efficient recycling of organic nutrients within Northern Ireland agriculture whilst contributing to climate targets.
Funding is being provided by the Department for the Economy's Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) and DAERA's Green Growth Fund. SBRI provides the public sector with innovative solutions to problems that will drive improvement and allows suppliers to develop products and services working collaboratively with the public sector, enabling them to develop new skills, expertise, and markets.
The potential role for anaerobic digestion of wastes to contribute to emission reductions was highlighted by the Climate Change Committee (CCC) in their recently published advice report on the carbon budget and path to Net Zero for Northern Ireland. The process of producing biomethane from the anaerobic digestion of wastes can both replace fossil gas and be used with carbon capture and storage to sequester CO2.
The SBRI funding will be used by the companies to create practical and economically viable models where livestock slurry can be separated with minimal nitrogen and methane losses, ideally to produce feedstock which can be used to produce biogas or biomethane via anaerobic digestion (AD). Nutrients remaining post energy production will also be suitably processed to provide a replacement for artificial fertiliser for use in NI or for export.
The six companies have each been awarded Pound 100,000 to develop this work and are due to complete their projects in summer 2023. The companies are B9 (Granville Eco Park, Dungannon in collaboration with ReCon Waste Management, Portadown); Renewables United, Banbridge; The Centre for Competitiveness/LUCERNE, which is a Mid Ulster collaboration between Dale Farm, CEMCOR, Tobermore Concrete and the RSC Group; Blakiston Houston Estate Company, Dundonald; Carbon Technologies Group, Newtownabbey; and Natural World Products, Belfast.
Welcoming the six projects, DAERA's Director of Green Growth Delivery and Climate Action Division, Claire Cockerill said "This SBRI funding is an excellent example of Green Growth in action and a demonstration of government and industry working in tandem to deliver climate action solutions. I very much hope that this feasibility funding will lead to practical and environmentally sustainable solutions for the use of livestock slurry."
Paul Grocott, Head of Economic Strategy at the Department for the Economy added: "SBRI is a highly effective way of encouraging the development of new innovative solutions to public policy challenges. Through this funding, businesses can help deliver a greener economy, in one of our largest sectors, in line with our 10X Economic Vision."