A total of £600,000 has been awarded to six Northern Ireland (NI) companies to develop practical and environmentally friendly solutions for livestock slurry.

The six companies have been awarded £100,000 each to develop this work and are due to complete the projects this summer.

The companies are:

  • B9 in collaboration with ReCon Waste Management;
  • Renewables United;
  • The Centre for Competitiveness/LUCERNE, which is a Mid Ulster collaboration between Dale Farm, CEMCOR, Tobermore Concrete and the RSC Group;
  • Blakiston Houston Estate Company;
  • Carbon Technologies Group;
  • Natural World Products.

The Department for the Economy’s Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs’ (DAERA) Green Growth Fund are providing funding.

NI sustainability

Claire Cockerill, DAERA’s director of Green Growth Delivery and Climate Action Division, said:

“This SBRI funding is an excellent example of green growth in action and a demonstration of government and industry working in tandem to deliver climate action solutions.

“I very much hope that this feasibility funding will lead to practical and environmentally sustainable solutions for the use of livestock slurry.”

The DAERA-led project aims to reduce surplus phosphorus and ensure efficient recycling of organic nutrients within Northern Ireland agriculture while contributing to climate targets.

According to DAERA, the potential role for anaerobic digestion of wastes to contribute to emission reductions was highlighted by the Climate Change Committee (CCC) in its recently published advice report on the carbon budget and path to ‘net zero’ for Northern Ireland.

DAERA said that the funding will be used by the companies to create “practical and economically” viable models where livestock slurry can be separated with minimal nitrogen and methane losses.

This is, ideally, to produce feedstock which can be used to produce biogas or biomethane via anaerobic digestion.

DAERA said that the nutrients remaining post-energy-production will also be suitably processed to provide a replacement for artificial fertiliser for use in NI or for export.