Manure from approximately 500 cows is being used to create 27,000kgs of biofuel to power dairy delivery trucks as part of a new three month on-farm trial in the UK.
Dairy co-operative, Arla, is spearheading the initiative which, it believes, will reduce its carbon impact by 80 tonnes – the equivalent to 23 car journeys around the world.
For the first time, its farmers will send their cows’ manure to a nearby anaerobic digestion plant where it will be broken down into different components, including clean bio-methane, and converted into usable fuel.
It is understood that Arla is the first UK business to use waste from its own farms to generate power for its fleet.
190 tonnes of slurry per week
The process, involving around 190 tonnes of slurry each week, will create nutrient-rich, natural fertiliser, which Arla farmers can put back on to farms, making it an entirely closed loop.
The three-month test will involve two special Arla tankers that have been adapted to run on biofuel transporting milk between dairy processing sites and are expected to cover around 90,000km.
Proving that muck is just as important as milk, Arla will use manure from 500 cows – that’s around 190 tonnes of slurry each week – to create a staggering 27,000kg of biofuel to power the trial vehicles.
On-farm cow-powered fuel station
To mark the launch of the initiative, the farmer-owned co-operative has launched the UK’s first cow-powered fuel station on one of the farms taking part in Winslow, Bucks.
Ian Barker, an Arla Farmer involved in the trial said: “Many of us recognise how valuable a cow’s milk is, but many aren’t aware that manure is just as important.”
“Processing cow manure in this manner provides us with a limitless source of energy, plus the digestate, or solid matter, left over after the process makes an even richer fertiliser for my fields, so it’s a win-win.”
A greener future
Graham Wilkinson, Agriculture Director at Arla said: “Using manure from our farms is helping us reduce our waste and rely less on air-polluting fossil fuels so it’s a no brainer for us.”
“With the help of our farmers and partners, we have a fully closed loop which at scale, could be revolutionary in helping fuel a greener future.”
Arla is using the trial to assess opportunities for scaling poo-powered transport opportunities across its value chain.
If it proves a success, it added, it will lay clear foundations for how the dairy industry can join forces with Government and other partners to enable new fuel solutions that reduce environmental impact.