Arla is planning to transform cow manure from its farms into vehicle-friendly fuel in a major new trial.
The dairy co-op will use poo from around 500 cows to create 27,000kg of biofuel to power their delivery trucks, reducing the organisation’s carbon impact by 80 tonnes.
Farmers will send their cows’ poo to a nearby anaerobic digestion plant where it will be broken down into different components, including clean bio-methane, and converted into usable fuel, in what is being described as a first for the UK farming sector. The process will also create nutrient rich, natural fertiliser (digestate) which Arla farmers can put back on to farms, making it an entirely closed loop.
To mark the launch of the initiative, the farmer-owned cooperative 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.”
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 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.