Effluent treatment system is set to deliver big water savings for dairy farming

The ClearTech effluent treatment system at Lincoln University Dairy Farm (LUDF) has saved more than 600,000 litres of freshwater in its first full month of operation.

The quantity of freshwater saved equates to the average daily water use of about 3,000 people, or the amount of water that an individual person would use in eight years. With steeply-rising farmer demand for ClearTech, the new effluent treatment technology will potentially save billions of litres of freshwater a year if used across the New Zealand dairy industry.

LUDF Farm Manager Peter Hancox says the impact of the ClearTech system on the farm’s operations has been a revelation. Continue reading

ClearTech adds another science and research award to its collection

A ground-breaking method designed to dramatically improve the dairy sector’s water efficiency has scooped another prestigious award.

The ClearTech product, developed from research by Lincoln University Soil Science Professors Keith Cameron and Hong Di, won the Science & Research Award at the Primary Industries Awards in Wellington last night.

ClearTech aims to save billions of litres of freshwater a year by making existing effluent storage go further, using a coagulant to separate effluent from dairy shed runoff, which allows the water to be reused. Continue reading

ClearTech wins Fieldays Innovation Award

The ClearTech dairy effluent treatment system developed by Lincoln University Professors Keith Cameron and Hong Di in conjunction with Ravensdown won a Highly Commended Award at last week’s Fieldays Innovation Awards.

The system uses a coagulant to bind effluent colloidal particles together to settle them out from the water. This clarifying process reduces freshwater use, helps existing effluent storage go further and reduces the environmental and safety risk linked with farm dairy effluent (FDE).

“This is a great example of how researchers and industry can work together to deliver new innovative technologies for the benefit of New Zealand,” Professor Cameron said.

“Our field lysimeter studies have shown significant reductions in leaching losses of E coli. and phosphate from ClearTech treated effluent applied to land. Application of ClearTech treated effluent is therefore less likely to harm water quality than untreated effluent.”

Ravensdown Product Manager Carl Ahlfeld said ClearTech is ideal for dairy farmers who want to save on effluent pond storage and take back control of their capacity and compliance.

Stripping out the E. coli and other bacteria in farm dairy effluent means cleaner water to wash down the dairy yard or irrigate on to paddocks and less volume of effluent that has to be stored and used safely

The nutrients in the effluent can be re-used back on to paddocks with minimal odour.

The judges were impressed with the technology and its potential benefits.

Source: Lincoln University

Scottish politician is shown agri-science projects during Lincoln University visit

The Secretary of State for Scotland was shown a new treatment system for dairy farm effluent during a visit to Lincoln University.

The Rt Hon David Mundell was at Lincoln as part of a trip around the country to explore potential opportunities for collaboration between New Zealand and the UK after Brexit.

He and his delegation met with Vice-Chancellor Professor James McWha, then visited Lincoln’s Ashley Dene Research Development Station.

He heard from Assistant Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Edwards, fellow Scotsman Professor Keith Cameron and Lincoln Agritech’s Dr Blair Miller, about some of the innovations they have developed in recent years.

One project that attracted particular attention was ClearTech, a treatment system for dairy farm effluent which was developed in collaboration with Ravensdown and is designed to treat and recyle water at the dairy shed, thereby saving freshwater.

Professor Cameron said the visit proved “very positive”.

“The delegation were really interested in the science and technology development that we do at Lincoln University and Lincoln Agritech, because the UK and New Zealand share similar challenges in terms of sustainable production and environmental protection.”

The British High Commissioner to New Zealand, Laura Clarke, was part of the delegation. She complimented the university and Lincoln Agritech on the science and innovation that is being conducted.

Lincoln looks forward to potential future collaborations in science and innovation between New Zealand and the UK, Professor Cameron said.

Source: Lincoln University

New technology aims to slash dairy effluent and farmers’ use of fresh water

Lincoln University has teamed up with the fertiliser co-operative, Ravensdown, to develop a breakthrough technology that could dramatically improve the dairy sector’s water efficiency and reduce the risks associated with dairy effluent.

The new system, known as ClearTech, was developed from research by Lincoln University Soil Science Professors Keith Cameron and Hong Di. It represents a $1.5 million investment by Ravensdown.

The technology aims to save billions of litres of freshwater a year by making existing effluent storage go further, with farmers able to separate effluent from dairy shed runoff and reuse the water. The leftover waste can then be turned into nutrient fertiliser for paddocks.

Professor Keith Cameron says the ClearTech pilot project was producing 10,000 litres of recyclable water per milking.

“That’s 20,000 litres a day of water saved, which means we don’t have to use freshwater, and it’s 20 thousand less litres of effluent that get produced,” he said.

The pilot project is installed at the Lincoln University Demonstration Farm (LUDF) and undergoing rigorous testing in a real-world environment to give farmers a preview of the technology.

It was unveiled at a LUDF Farm Focus Day on 3 May by Agriculture Minister Damian O’Connor and representatives from Lincoln University and Ravensdown. A group of 350 dairy farmers attended the event.

The system is installed between the dairy shed and effluent pond and works by binding effluent particles together to settle them out from the water.

The effluent circulating in the ClearTech system is automatically monitored and treated and the separation process kills up to 99% of micro-organisms, such as E. coli, while reducing odour.

Professor Hong Di said similar technology was being used for treating drinking water.

“We’ve taken the same principle and applied it to dairy farm effluent.”

The technology will be commercially available later this year, once testing has been completed.

Ravensdown Effluent Technology Manager Jaime Thompson said the project showed exciting potential to transform “green water” so it could be confidently reused as yard wash.

“About a quarter of a dairy shed’s fresh water use is on yard washing, so the potential benefits to New Zealand are enormous.

“ClearTech will look to save 42 billion litres of freshwater a year – the equivalent of 17,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.”

She said 70 per cent of dairy farmers’ environmental spending was dedicated to effluent management, so ClearTech would help them to save money and meet their compliance obligations.

Professor Cameron also highlighted a positive initial response to the technology from dairy industry stakeholders.

“We’re really encouraged to see their willingness and desire to collaborate as we engage with them in the development of ClearTech,” he said.

Source: Lincoln University