Pork CRC targets footprint

Countryman

WA pig producers wanting to reduce their carbon footprint are set to benefit from the Pork CRC's new Bioenergy Support Program.

Launched at this year's Pan Pacific Pork Expo, the program is aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of Australia's pork producers to one kilogram of carbon dioxide per kilogram of meat.

According to Pork CRC chief executive Roger Campbell, methane capture, utilisation and flaring would be some of the most effective steps in realising the CRC's carbon target.

"As part of Pork CRC Subprogram 4C, Carbon Neutral Pork Production, this project prioritises production, capture and use of methane from piggery effluent treated in covered anaerobic lagoons," he said.

Dr Campbell said specific efforts towards carbon neutral pork production would involve novel research to maximise methane production from effluent ponds so that gas collection and use could be made more economically viable.

"Alternative approaches to waste management will also be assessed to develop solid waste pork production systems that mitigate carbon outputs," he said.

Despite Australia's long distances and problems with biosecurity, feedstocks, restrictive policies and standards and relatively high labour and component costs inhibiting uptake of biogas technology, interest is accelerating due to lower cost technologies, rising energy costs and the introduction of the Carbon Farming Initiative and carbon tax.

The Pork CRC Bioenergy Support Program, headed by Stephan Tait, a professional engineer chartered with the Institution of Chemical Engineers and a research fellow at the Advanced Water Management Centre, University of Queensland, will be, effectively, a 'one-stop-shop' for Australian pork producers to find out everything they need to know to better manage piggery effluent and reduce their carbon footprint.

The program will provide independent advice on low-cost biogas options, details of suppliers, independent reviews of feasibility assessments, information on available funding and much more.

A steering committee of the Pork CRC Bioenergy Support Program includes University of Queensland's Stephan Tait (chief investigator), Pork CRC's Rob Wilson, Australia Pork Ltd's Janine Price, consultant Eugene McGahan and Alan Skerman, of Queensland's Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation.

Eastern states pork producers Tom Smith, Ian Connaughton, Ken Cameron and Dugald Walker also sit on the steering committee.

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Producers and other industry stakeholders wishing to be involved or inquire should contact Stephan Tait on 0466 699 817 or email s.tait@uq.edu.au

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