EC funds energy efficiency programme for dairy

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Dairy farmers, Renewable energy

The European Commission has funded a project that provides information to dairy farmers on achieving energy efficiency – which could ultimately also bring down costs for dairy product manufacturers.

The Geronimo project, supported by the EC’s Intelligent Energy Europe programme, is a web portal that groups together information on reducing energy consumption or switching to energy alternatives.

“The website collects information that is out there and makes it easily accessible,”​ said Lorraine Caruana of prokect partner MIIS, a Malta-based research centre that aims to assist SMEs.

“This is mainly targeting dairy farmers but in the long-run it could be beneficial for manufacturers as well as it could reduce the costs of producing milk,”​ she told DairyReporter.com.

The website, DairyEnergy.eu, aims to provide “practical and relevant”​ advice to assist dairy farmers in reducing their on-farm energy consumption, as well as switching to renewable energy alternatives.

Sustainability focus

Sustainability in the dairy sector is becoming a growing priority, increasingly backed by government and industry alike.

Indeed, last week marked the European sustainable energy week, which served to promote and establish EU commitments to ensure 20 per cent of the bloc’s energy is derived from renewable sources by 2020.

European Commission spokesperson Michael Mann said that at agricultural level, areas such as dairy farming, with the exception of green fodder drying, were not energy intensive, though there could be benefits in looking at sustainable energy.

“The 20 per cent renewable energy target and the 20 per cent increase in energy efficiency is feasible at moderate costs in the short run and can even generate cost savings in the medium to long run,”​ he stated.

Mann stressed that dairy farms also had the potential to supply and make use of biogas​ as well as another form of sustainable energy.

Interactive energy community

The Geronimo project aims to provide an interactive community that allows dairy farmers, energy experts, academics and students exchange information and skills on achieving energy efficiency.

“Over the past months, together with our project partners from across Europe, comprising Dairy Associations and Universities, as well as research and innovation organisations, we have been working actively on the site in order to build up its infrastructure and content prior to a European launch,”​ writes MIIS.

“The site offers the opportunity to upload content, create blogs, participate in forums and a whole host of other activities. In this way, we aim to generate a vibrant, interactive site whereby the content will be continually added to and developed over time.”

The Geronimo project is coordinated by Spanish innovation centre IPIC (Iberian Productivity and Innovation Centre). The project has nine partners, which include the UK’s RABDF (Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers), FKK (MFKK Feltalálói és Kutató Központ Szolgáltató Kft), Hungary, and John Erik (Gesund Lantbruk) HB Sweden.

Related topics: Sustainability, Markets

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