Subsidy for sustainable generation of energy using manure from dairy farms

Cooperative Jumpstart strengthens the manure mono-fermentation cycle at dairy farms and with this contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gases

4 October 2016

Henk Kamp, the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs, gave the starting signal for Cooperative Jumpstart. He did this by putting the first standard manure mono-fermentation system into operation at dairy farm Sassinga of the Heeg family in Hinnaard in the Dutch province of Friesland. Jumpstart is a cooperative providing technical assistance to dairy farmers with respect to the installation and use of manure mono-fermentation systems. The Minister also announced that within the SDE+ scheme an amount of 150 million euro will be reserved for manure mono-fermentation systems at farm level. Roelof Joosten, CEO of FrieslandCampina and one of the initiators of Cooperative Jumpstart, made known that the dairy company will buy energy from the participating member dairy farmers. On top of this, FrieslandCampina will pay a participating member 10 euro per ton reduction of CO2.

Manure mono-fermentation produces heat and biogas. The biogas can be upgraded into green gas and be supplied to the natural gas system. It can also be used for driving a cogeneration plant, which delivers both energy and heat. Besides, the fermentation of manure makes a contribution to the reduction of emission of greenhouse gases, including methane.

Minister Kamp: ‘With the implementation of manure mono-fermentation systems we kill several birds with one stone. It enables us to use manure to generate renewable energy. One average fermentation system delivers sufficient gas and electricity for about 40 households and this makes a contribution to the objective of generating 14 percent renewable energy in the year 2020. Apart from this, the emission of greenhouse gases from manure is prevented, which reduces the CO2-emission.’

The mayor of Leeuwarden (the capital of the Dutch province of Friesland), Ferd Crone, who is involved in numerous sustainable energy projects on behalf of GroenGasNL and one of the initiators of Jumpstart, was present as well. Ferd Crone: ‘This approach is a good example of chain innovation. With this manure mono-fermentation is made more affordable and it additionally delivers more environmental benefit. The dairy farmer generates sustainable energy for his own use from the manure of his cows and so the dairy is produced in a sustainable way. The farmer supplies any surplus of, for example, green gas to his dairy company. This is the circular economy that we are aiming at.’

Roelof Joosten, CEO of Royal FrieslandCampina: ‘Dairy farmers using manure to generate sustainable energy will apart from producers of milk become producers of sustainable energy as well. In this way, they make a contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gases. When the residual product may also be used as a basic material for a substitute for artificial fertiliser in the future, the cycle will be closed. We have made an effort to settle the existing bottlenecks in connection with manure mono-fermentation and made sure that Cooperative Jumpstart is ready to be started. Now it is up to the members to make it successful.’

Collective arrangements through Cooperative Jumpstart

Through the Cooperative Jumpstart arrangements have been made with suppliers, financiers, buyers and authorities. With this a number of important bottlenecks, such as too expensive systems, infeasible financing, too low proceeds and insecurity about subsidies, have been removed. This brings manure mono-fermentation within the reach of a larger group of dairy farmers. The objective is to have 200 manure mono-fermentation systems in use next year. The intention is that 1,000 dairy farmers will have a manure mono-fermentation system in their farm yards by the year 2020. Together these farms will represent a greenhouse gas reduction of 350 kilotons.

Not at the expense of outdoor grazing

Cooperative Jumpstart is focused on facilitating the installation of manure mono-fermentation systems at suitable dairy farms. Manure fermentation can be interesting for farms with a minimum of 120 cows and housing systems with closed flooring. To farms with slatted flooring a bottom limit of 150 cows applies. Moreover, Jumpstart only facilitates dairy farmers when it doesn’t negatively influences outdoor grazing. The capacity determination for a manure mono-fermentation system is based on the farmyard manure production in the summer, so when the cows are grazing outdoor.

Measures for reduction of greenhouse gas

Apart from conservation of biodiversity and the environment, continuous improvement of animal welfare and animal health, and the preservation of outdoor grazing, the dairy sector aims at climate-neutral development. All types of measures are deployed to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, such as longer lives for the cows, feed reducing the emission of methane and application of the Animal Nutrient Cycling Assessment (ANCA) for efficient use of minerals (and so have fewer losses). Generation of sustainable energy also makes a considerable contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gases. Besides wind and solar energy, the production of biogas by means of manure mono-fermentation at farms is another way to generate sustainable energy.