CPI study a “game changer” for EnviroSystems
Even after countries pledged in the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius and strive for a safer 1.5 degree target, the planet is on a trajectory to 3.6 degrees warming. Thus, the world is far behind in the fight against climate change, and all actors, not just governments, need to play their part, especially the biogas industry.
At the World Biogas Summit in 2019, Niclas Svenningsen, Manager, Global Climate Action at UN Climate Change, gave this stark overview of the climate emergency and highlighted the value of biogas technology in the mix. ADBA and the World Biogas Association co-host the annual Summit.
“There is a tremendous potential for biogas to be a significant building block in the climate and energy plans for the UK, EU and the world,” Svenningsen said. “The largest single emission source is by far energy production. Some 70% of global GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions are directly caused by energy generation, and most of that is by burning fossil fuel.”
EnviroSystems is a leading provider of innovative agricultural products – including novel animal bedding and biological additives – that adjust, for example, microbial environments in livestock housing and on the skin surfaces of cattle. In 2012, CPI designed and executed a project that compared an EnviroSystems animal bedding product ‘Envirobed’ to other commonly used animal bedding materials – when used as feedstock for the generation of renewable bio-methane through anaerobic digestion (AD). It was hypothesised that Envirobed would provide fewer inhibitory effects for farm-based AD plants and provide a healthier environment for the cattle shed.
CPI’s scientists carried out a six-week laboratory scale study that included a series of bench scale AD assays. CPI designed a rigorous scientific protocol, comparing lime ash, gypsum, straw/sawdust and Envirobed. These bedding materials were blended with dairy manure, to provide ample nutrients, as well as a seed inoculum, to establish a microbial culture.
Results of the study found that the use of Envirobed and/or straw/sawdust were the less inhibitory options for AD in comparison to gypsum or lime ash. The data suggested that the overall gas production from the digestion of manure alone would not be exceeded, but that the least antagonistic relationships would be observed from the addition of Envirobed or Straw/Sawdust. The use of gypsum as a co-substrate in an AD system was found to not only cause a negative impact on the production of bio-methane but also emit much higher levels of potentially harmful hydrogen sulphide gas.
The research and subsequent report was completed in a short timescale which was very important for EnviroSystems. The outcome of the project then had a direct impact on a change in legislation – the use of gypsum and ash as cubicle bedding became prohibited due to revised Health and Safety rules on farms. EnviroBed, therefore, was a safer alternative option and, as a result, the company’s sales doubled over the next 12 months and have stayed at this level over subsequent years. Liz Russell, Managing Director at EnviroSystems said: “Working with CPI allowed us to access specialist equipment and dedicated expertise that would have otherwise been unavailable to us.
The impact on our business from the work carried out at CPI at that time turned out to be a game changer and had a significant impact on reducing emissions of dangerous gases (e.g. hydrogen sulphide) from lagoons which were suspected of causing sudden death of housed cattle on farms”. EnviroSystems is now planning a much larger collaborative project with CPI as the lead technical partner.
EnviroSystems has been committed to helping farmers to make the most from their on-farm resources since 2011, which saw the success of its first offering of a unique animal bedding. The company develops and sells a range of specialist products both in the UK and overseas.