During the initial phase of the partnership, GEA will install four units on Dutch farms that supply milk to Unilever. Over a one-year period, the data of these systems will be analyzed to measure their impact on Unilever’s carbon footprint.
Unilever and GEA will assess and scale up the potential of the system to significantly reduce GHG emissions throughout the milk production process, improving Unilever's sustainability along its value chain.
The manure enricher system empowers climate-friendly milk and food production by just using air and electricity
According to GEA. Its manure enricher enables dairy farms to produce environmentally friendly organic fertilizer locally on their farms just with their livestock slurry, air and electricity. Through innovative plasma technology, nitrogen from the air is added into the manure. At the same time, the manure enricher technology utilizes all available nutrients on the farm by reducing ammonia losses, that typically occur during storage and field application, by up to 95 percent, GEA claimed.
The data will be analyzed to measure the system’s impact on carbon footprint
All nutrients including increased nitrogen is available to the plants in a targeted and immediate manner, claims GEA to support plant growth. Crop yield can be increased by up to 40% compared to untreated manure, the company claimed. Moreover, methane emissions from manure storage are eliminated during the process. All these effects can reduce a farm's overall carbon footprint by up to 30%, it said.
‘A good illustration of a circular farm management system’
“At Unilever we are convinced that technology and innovation is key to decarbonize the dairy industry,” said Eric Soubeiran, Managing Director - Climate and Nature Fund at Unilever. “This partnership between four dairy farmers of our supplier CONO Kaasmakers, Unilever and GEA is a good illustration of creating a circular farm management system. By implementing this technology, we are deploying our regenerative strategy and support significant reduction of the carbon footprint of our dairy ingredients. This ultimately provides more sustainable products for our consumers.”
This pilot is supported by Unilever’s Climate & Nature Fund which is a commitment to invest €1 billion by 2030 in meaningful climate, nature, and resource efficiency projects, to transform the way our products are made and reach end of life
Peter Lauwers, CEO of GEA Farm Technologies, said the company wants to empower dairy farmers around the world to sustainably ‘future-proof their operations in times of tight margins, environmental regulations and increasing complexity to produce milk and food more climate-friendly.
“We are very pleased that Unilever has chosen GEA as partner, as this is an important endorsement for our innovative solutions,” he said. “As one of the world's largest system suppliers for the food industry and frontrunner for sustainable change, we will put all our efforts together with Unilever on this manure enricher solution to promote circular farming.”