New system to turn cow manure into green gold

Posted by Josette Dunn on 10th September 2010

Dairy farmers across Australia could soon be turning effluent into energy thanks to a new invention being developed under the Victorian Government’s $28 million Smart SMEs Market Validation Program.

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Launching the Creative Innovation 2010 Conference today, Innovation Minister Gavin Jennings said turning waste into products such as biofuels would benefit the environment, agricultural producers and Victoria’s economy.

“Under the $28 million Smart SMEs Market Validation Program Victorian company Algae Enterprises will receive almost $1.5 million to pilot the new technology that will help reduce farm waste and provide agricultural producers with a new energy source,” Mr Jennings said.

“The project will enable a more environmentally friendly and cost effective dairy effluent system to assist dairy farmers in generating renewable energy, irrigation water and bio products.

“This will help to increase economic efficiencies for dairy farmers, reducing the cost of energy and helping to future-proof their businesses against future energy prices through promoting increased self-sufficiency.

“The dairy effluent management project will trial an anaerobic bio-digester for biogas production as well algae cultivation technologies for possible production of bio products including biofuels.

“Furthermore the technology is not just limited to dairy farmers and could be applied to other agricultural industries that rely on livestock – promoting possible export opportunities for Victoria which will create an economic boost and jobs across the state.”

Algae Enterprises will conduct the pilot project at the Department of Primary Industries’ Ellinbank facility and work in partnership with Monash University.

“The project promises to supply dairy-farmers with evidence of this cost-effective solution while increasing process efficiencies to provide a complete closed carbon loop of zero emissions,” Mr Jennings said.

The  Smart SMEs Market Validation Program is a demand-led research and development program assisting small to medium businesses develop new technologies.