Dairy giant Arla has announced plans for the UK’s first dairy farm ‘fuel station’ to turn cow poo into power.
The three-month trial will reduce Arla’s carbon impact by 80 tonnes, it claims, and forms part of the firm’s sustainability efforts. It will see farmers delivering their cow waste to an anaerobic digestion plant, where it will be broken down into different components, including clean bio-methane, and converted into usable fuel.
The scheme is the first time waste from Arla’s own farms will generate power for its fleet of vehicles, and will see two specially-adapted tankers that run biofuels transporting milk to processing sites. The tankers will cover 90,000km – the equivalent of 23 car journeys around the world. The biofuel comes from manure from 500 cows – around 190 tonnes of slurry each week – which will create 27,000kg of biofuel.
Farmer Ian Barker, who is working on 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.”
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.”