Arla has pitched the concept of using cow waste to create biogas in a bid to introduce new green energy solutions to the market.
The dairy producer estimates that the 1.2 million tonnes of “cow slurry” each year from its farms alone will be sufficient to generate power for up to four per cent of UK homes.
The company said that its herd of 460,000 cows can provide a “consistent and reliable” energy source with the added benefit of producing a nutrient-rich fertiliser to support the land and “close the loop” on Arla farms.
It reports that it has successfully tested the concept on its own locations, with cow slurry used to power entire dairy estates.
“My farm already produces enough cow poo power to keep the lights on across my business and the local community,” Arla farmer Neil Ridgway said.
According to the producer, it uses the process of anaerobic digestion to break down cow slurry into biogas, which is cleaned and transported to a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit to produce energy.
“Arla is committed to sustainable farming and reducing emissions from food production,” Arla group agriculture director Graham Wilkinson said.
“Following our poo-powered transport trials last year, it’s clear we have only just scratched the surface.
“If the government and the energy industry could see the potential, the scaling up of cow power could be a game-changer for the UK’s renewable energy supply whilst also helping reduce emissions in farming.”
Ridgway added: “With the right support and infrastructure maybe we could turn that possibility into reality.”