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Australian pork producers aim to cut carbon

30-May-2012

Arabella Mileham

A new bioenergy initiative has been launched in Australia, which will become a ‘one stop shop’ for Australian pork producers that are trying to substantially reduce their carbon footprint.

The Bioenergy Support Programme was launched by the Australian Pork Cooperative Research Centre (Pork CRC) at the Pan Pacific Pork Expo 2012. It has been developed to deal with the emissions from piggery effluent ponds, which are used by more than 90% of Australian producers, after research found that over two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions came from effluent ponds.
Pork CRC chief executive officer Dr Roger Campbell said that the move towards carbon-neutral pork production would involve novel research to maximise methane production from effluent ponds, so that gas collection and use can be made economically viable. Methane capture, including utilisation and flaring, was found be one of the most effective steps to reduce emissions.
He said: “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. Alternative approaches to waste management will also be assessed to develop solid waste pork production systems that mitigate carbon outputs.”
The programme will provide information to producers on how to manage piggery effluent better and reduce their carbon footprint, but will also offer independent advice on low-cost biogas options, details of suppliers, independent reviews of feasibility assessments and information on available funding.
The programme forms the first step towards High Integrity Australian Pork reducing its carbon dioxide emissions to achieve the target of 1kg of carbon dioxide per kg of meat. Interest in biogas technology has been slow to get off the ground in Australia, but rising energy costs, lower-cost technologies and the introduction of a carbon tax and Carbon Farming Initiative has sparked increased interest.

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