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Workshop and site-visit to Heirbaut aLgriculture

5 October, 2023 | 7:30 am - 10:00 pm

The ALFA and AgRefine projects will join forces to co-host a free event on the 5th of October at 19.30h, combining informational sessions from both projects with a guided visit to the Heirbaut aLgriculture farm, which runs a small biogas plant and an algae farm.

We invite interested livestock farmers in Flanders to participate. You can gain valuable insights regarding viable business model options for on-farm biorefinery systems, and about how to manage farm resources like manure and grass to unlock new revenue sources. You will also be able to provide your views and expertise to support AgRefine’s further research. In addition, you can learn about the opportunities that the ALFA project will provide to support the investment in and deployment of biogas systems in livestock farming. Lastly, during the event, participants will be provided with drinks and food from the farm’s own products.

🌾 Site visit to Heirbaut aLgriculture
🕑 19:30 – 20:30)

In their dairy farm in Temse, Kris and Ginny Heirbaut operate a small biogas plant using the manure from their cows. This consists of a pocket digester that converts the methane gases from the manure into green electricity. They also cultivate algae, a nutrient-rich food that they use in their locally produced food products. Their micro-algae installation contributes to circularity by recycling the CO2 of the digester and converting it into carbon and dioxide, they bring back oxygen in the air.

In addition to making their dairy farm more sustainable, the resulting energy and algae-based products also provide extra sources of revenue for the farm.

🔋 Integration of biogas with grass fermentation: a biorefinery business model for cattle farmers
🕑 20:30 – 21:30)

Francesca Magnolo and Rushab Chopda, researchers at Ghent University’s Faculty of Bioscience Engineering and members of the AgRefine research project, will conduct a workshop on an innovative business model developed specifically for cattle farmers.

As European cattle farmers face increasing challenges related to emissions and manure waste disposal, it is crucial to explore innovative solutions that not only address these issues but also provide financial sustainability and independence. Within the AgRefine project, they have conducted research to evaluate the financial sustainability of an on-farm integrated biorefinery system. This system combines anaerobic digestion and grass fermentation for biogas, digestate, and lactic acid production. Their aim is to shed light on how such systems can empower farmers by closing nutrient loops, reducing external inputs, and offering new revenue streams.

During the presentation, they will present the biorefinery business model and explore the following questions:
– How the installation of a biorefinery system would change the overall resource management on farms?
– Would it help farmers increase profits and how?

The presentation holds significant relevance for dairy farmers who want to find new and sustainable ways to change their business and to increase and diversify their revenue streams. Additionally, the system offers the opportunity to use grass for producing bio-based lactic acid, which has a high market value and is used in various sectors such as food, pharmaceuticals, and bioplastics.

🤝ALFA project’s insights and support services for livestock farmers that want to invest in biogas
(🕑 21:30 – 21:55)

ALFA is an EU-funded project that aims to promote the adoption of biogas systems in livestock farming.

During the event, ALFA’s Belgian Hub (led by White Research) will explain the free support services that the project will offer to livestock farmers in Belgium. Such services will include business, financial, and technical services related to the deployment, operation, and investment into biogas plants for livestock farmers. In later stages, ALFA will also hold a series of informational seminars on topics related to biogas in livestock farming.

In addition, during this workshop, we will present results from the project’s research activities, which included a series of interviews, surveys, and workshops to map the current regional challenges and enabling factors for adopting biogas in livestock farming. Linking it with the mentioned support services, we will discuss how ALFA can contribute to overcoming the current barriers that exist at the administrative, financial, technical, and social levels, focusing on Flanders and Belgium.

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5 October, 2023
7:30 am - 10:00 pm
Event Category:


Heirbaut aLgriculture
Veldstraat 218
Temse, 9140 Belgium
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Heirbaut aLgriculture