Dairy Geyser to be showcased at AgTech event

The founders of an innovative agri-business, Dairy Geyser, will present at ‘AgTech, The Future of Sustainable Agricultural Business’. This will take place at Fota Island resort, Cork, on Wednesday, March 6 from 9:00am to 2:00pm.

The seminar is being run by Cork County Council’s Local Enterprise Office South Cork for Local Enterprise Week.

The two main founders of Dairy Geyser are Martin Deady and Syl Lyster. Having grown up on a mixed enterprise farm in Kilkenny, Syl graduated with a bachelor of agricultural science from University College Dublin (UCD). He was then employed in the agricultural sector with Glanbia.

Martin’s background experience is in the engineering sector, having worked with many firms in the Cork area. He moved into the pressure washing business where he became a main agent for Karcher for a number of years.

The idea for Dairy Geyser came about when Martin was asked by a client to look at his dairy water heater equipment as he didn’t have sufficient hot water at a high enough temperature to satisfy the needs of the modern dairy hygiene regimes recommended by dairy processors.

Stringent

“For a number of years, milk quality standards, particularly total bacterial counts (TBCs) and thermodurics, have become more stringent. Detergent use had increased dramatically to negate these effects. Average herd size during that period had also increased,” Martin said.

Demand for dairy and bulk tank processes has increased exponentially while water heating systems have not kept pace. Contaminants, mainly chlorine, are now showing up in the food chain and jeopardising our dairy export trade.

Legacy batch electrical heating water systems, which account for the majority of heating systems used, are now not fit for purpose as they don’t have enough hot water at a high enough temperature, are expensive to run and are costly on detergents, Syl contended.

The pair invented a diesel dairy water heater – the Dairy Geyser – that can supply up to 30L of hot water per minute at 75-80°C.

“Initially, a prototype was commissioned which was tested in the workshop where necessary adjustments were made. It was then tested in a commercial dairy situation where further adjustments were made and further testing was carried out. It was subsequently released commercially in November 2017,” Martin said.

Adequate flow

“The initial engineering posed many challenges, mainly how to ensure an adequate flow of food grade hot water at a consistently high temperature to complete the sterilisation process,” said Syl. “This was overcome by using stainless steel components throughout the machine.

“When the machine was perfected and tested, the finance to launch it commercially was a major challenge. This was surmounted by using personal finance, a bank overdraft and a LEO grant,” Syl explained.

“Getting our message across to the end users – dairy farmers – is an ongoing challenge,” Martin said. “This is done through a range of mediums from word-of-mouth to digital marketing to liaison with industry stakeholders such as Teagasc and dairy processors. A future challenge will be to set up and maintain an international distribution network.”

Completed deal

Currently some components are sourced abroad and imported. “As time progresses, more and more components are and will be sourced or manufactured in Ireland. We recently completed a deal with O’Donovan Engineering in Cork to manufacture some of the components. All components are assembled at our plant in Cobh, Co. Cork,” said Syl.

Currently, Dairy Geyser supplies the Irish market – dairy farmers with bulk tanks and milking machines and farmers who rear calves. “We are test marketing with other potential Irish end users, mainly meat factories, domestic users and the equine industry,” Martin said.

“We are continually striving to develop our product going forward, paying particular attention to sustainable farming issues,” added Syl.

“We are looking forward to meeting with some of the foremost experts in this field at this progressive convention for the AgTech sector,” he said.

Methane gas

“Currently, a lot of research is being carried out in the area of methane gas harvesting from slurry produced on farms,” Martin said. “We are looking closely at this concept with the intention of using this as a source of energy for our machine in the longer term.

“We are working with the Nimbus Institute in Cork to manufacture and assemble geysers to suit different markets, namely meat factories, domestic users and the equine industry. We are also looking at the demands of a number of international markets including the EU and New Zealand to determine the suitability of our product for these markets.”

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