Farm waste to create renewable energy

12 Dec

When we examine the development of renewable energy we automatically assume Solar, Wind, Hydro and Geothermal energies play their part in creating renewable energy. This is soon set to change as a new three year research project is currently in the works to see the agriculture, aquaculture and biogas sectors working together to develop renewable energy. The initiative establishes how refining sustainability, reducing waste and achieving operational efficiencies can be achieved simultaneously.

The EU led project is called BIFFiO and will prove important in contributing towards the EU goal of sourcing 20% of Europe’s energy demands from renewable energy sources by the year 2020.

At present, both agriculture and aquaculture sectors are producing a great deal of waste which is often unused or untreated. There has been impending pressure over the last few years for the farms to reduce their environmental footprint. A goal the BIFFiO project aims to achieve is to develop an advantageous method for both farmer and energy creator for handling the mixed wastes and turning them into usable renewable energy.

The project was launched in November 2013. Its first objective was to examine how waste can be treated and how used best to create renewable energy. They will also investigate what other nutrients are in the waste so they can be recovered for other processes. The secondary objective would be to replace existing technologies used in large scale waste treatments, with an economical biogas energy system which can be produced locally on or near a farm site.

In terms of wastes created it will be important to mix the waste so stock will be high. Generally, the waste will be used from fish farms and agricultural farming sites. The manure waste from farms will react well for the production of biogas, which in time can be used for renewable energy as well as supplying fertiliser to the agriculture industry.

Over the next three years, the project team plan to address the challenges faced by industry by looking at new ways to meet regulatory requirements, and to develop best practice for by-products.

Overall, the project aims to enhance hygienic and environmental standards in farming in terms of reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, the project will have an overall positive impact on local social and economic conditions by tackling pollution problems from the agricultural sector.

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