Written by Martin Williams.
An innovative biofactory will support Welsh farmers in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The striking anaerobic digestion system was unveiled by Biofactory Energy and Coleg Cambria Llysfasi, supported by Ambition North Wales.
It is one of three low-carbon initiatives jointly funded by a £500,000 grant from Welsh Government.
The two shipping containers transformed into a prototype plant have been named Neli and Gobaith (Hope) by students at the college and will be painted black and white to resemble dairy cows.
The long-term aim of Biofactory Energy, in partnership with lecturers and learners, is for dairy farms to decrease emissions from slurry management using pioneering technology, and for the system to become commercially viable and applicable to as many farmers as possible.
Project manager George Fisher says interest and feedback from across the agricultural arena is growing.
“The relevance and importance of this scheme has resonated with farmers in North Wales and beyond, partly because this is a scalable AD solution,” said George.
“It is one of several developments in the pipeline that will have a major impact on the future of the industry in Wales, as we work with key organisations to support and introduce new, sustainable approaches to farming.
“Micro-AD (Anaerobic Digestion) technology will convert greenhouse gas emissions into energy which will have multiple uses on site, from heating water to refrigeration and powering equipment to clean the dairy.
“This is a major step forward and we are excited to see the results.”
Robyn Lovelock, manager of the North Wales Growth Deal’s agri-food and tourism programme, is delighted to have supported the scheme and to see the demonstration system in place.
She has high hopes for how the technology can benefit residents and businesses within the region, adding: “It is critical to trial solutions that can help North Wales farmers achieve the sector’s net-zero targets, and exciting that Llysfasi is a test site for this emerging technology.
The dairy farming industry is pivotal to North Wales, employing seven per cent of the workforce and contributing more than £370m to the economy each year.
Llysfasi farm manager Dewi Jones said: “Anything that we can use that helps reduce emissions and also stacks up financially is welcome, and we see this new development as the first of many that we will adopt at Llysfasi in order to decarbonise our future food production at primary producer level.”