At a farmer on Funen in Denmark, a gas torch burns methane from a slurry tank, and each day it burns for several hours. It is methane gas from the slurry tank that drives the flame, so that the harmful greenhouse gas methane is continuously burned off and converted into CO2 and water. The method is new, and calculations show that the climate impact from the methane that is collected and burned is reduced by over 95 per cent.
- The technology is very promising. It looks like, with effective sealing of the covered slurry tanks and active collection, you will be able to collect and burn methane gas almost all year round, says senior researcher Anders Peter Adamsen from Aarhus University, who has been following the technology for the past few years:
- It is an extremely important step, as methane gas is an incredibly potent greenhouse gas, and certainly one that we can act on with this new technology. We have a great need to find technologies that can reduce methane gas from slurry tanks, as e.g., frequent dumping of manure in barns will give more methane gas in the manure tank.
The project has been three years in the making, and behind the technology is Deponigas ApS, which has more than 20 years of experience with gas extraction from landfills in Denmark. When the initial trials showed enormous potential, the company AgroGas was founded with the aim of spreading the technology to agriculture. AgroGas presented Danish Crown with the idea of testing the technology on a large scale, and this was the start of a partnership between AgroGas and Danish Crown.
- Our starting point is to do something good for the climate, but we had difficulty breaking through with it. Through Danish Crown, we now get a fantastic platform for large-scale testing. We are now setting up three plants in the first stage. When they are running, we will follow up with another seven plants by 2024 at the latest, explains Peter Foged Larsen, one of the founders of AgroGas.
The AgroGas technology is currently part of the GUDP project LESS (Low Emission Slurry Storages), which i.a. must validate the effect with the aim of getting on the list of the future's most promising technologies for reducing methane emissions from slurry tanks. The GUDP project is carried out in collaboration with SEGES, Landia and Aarhus University.
- In addition to testing the burning of methane on a large scale, in collaboration with Danish Crown we will also investigate the possibilities of using methane gas from slurry tanks for the production of electricity and heat. Ultimately, the goal is also to collect the CO2 that is released during combustion. The challenge is that the methane gas is lean and fluctuating in quality, but we believe that the experience Deponisgas has with burning methane from landfills can benefit us, says Mikkel Kastensand, who is the other founder of AgroGas.
Danish Crown, who has just had their climate targets approved by the UN partnership Science Based Targets, sees the partnership with AgroGas as one of the ways to achieve the company's goal of being climate neutral (net-zero) by 2050 at the latest.
- The technology is exciting because it can potentially contribute to a significant reduction of the climate footprint from pork. The project is a good example of how we in Danish agriculture can also use technology to help us in the task of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases, says Nicolaj Nørgaard, who is director of Danish Crown's owner-directed activities.
The first three stationary systems will be installed in the middle of the year and a further seven will follow by 2024 at the latest. The results will be continuously evaluated and if they live up to expectations, the plan is to offer the technology to all unit owners in Danish Crown.