ALFA’s Belgian hub recently co-hosted an event in collaboration with the AgRefine research project, which took place at Heirbaut ALgriculture, an innovative dairy farm with a biogas plant. The event, held on October 5th in Temse, Belgium, included an on-site visit to this pioneering farm, attracting a total of 10 external attendees, including mostly dairy farmers but also representatives of farmer associations and local policy-makers.
The primary target audience for this event was local dairy farmers who were introduced to ALFA’s objectives, activities, support services, and upcoming open calls for assistance. Researchers from the University of Ghent conducted an interactive workshop on “Integration of biogas with grass fermentation: a biorefinery business model for dairy farmers,” emphasizing how farmers can generate renewable energy and digestate while reducing reliance on fossil inputs, fostering financial sustainability, and exploring alternative revenue streams.
During the site visit, Kris Heirbaut, of the hosting farm, openly discussed his experience regarding the benefits and hurdles encountered in setting up his anaerobic digesters. He also shared his concerns about the regulatory challenges posed by local authorities.
In the second part of the workshop, the ALFA project’s mission to promote biogas adoption in livestock farming was explored. The Belgian Hub, led by White Research, presented the project’s support services for livestock farmers, including financial, technical, and business guidance for biogas projects and initiatives. In addition, the results of ALFA’s research activities were discussed, addressing barriers and challenges at administrative, financial, technical, and social levels, with a focus on Flanders and Belgium.
Additionally, to the site visit and the scientific workshop, attendees were treated to a unique catering experience featuring farm-produced, circular food products that incorporated the farm’s own CO2-fed algae.
- The event served as a vehicle for ALFA to share its findings and engage with livestock farmers. It highlighted how ALFA’s work aligns with broader efforts to reduce environmental impact and enhance farm profitability, especially given the current policy challenges for the Belgian biogas sector. Moreover, ALFA used the event to promote the project’s upcoming initiatives and the support measures that it will provide, expanding its network of potential beneficiaries and distributing promotional materials.
- Lastly, the event established a synergy with the AgRefine project, strengthening collaborations within the EU research community.
Overall, the event at Heirbaut ALgriculture was a significant step in advancing ALFA’s mission, fostering collaboration, and promoting sustainable practices within the agricultural community.