We received the start of the summertime with good news for our R&D&i line: we have recently learned that the project “Alternatives in the use and control of the potential of slurry ponds“, presented in the Call for Subsidies to support collaborative actions of agents in the agricultural sector for 2020, has been granted.
This call of the Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Environment of the Government of Aragon, through the Directorate General for Rural Development and the Service for Innovation and Food Transfer, aims to support cooperation and operational groups in technology and innovation in the agri-food sector, within the Rural Development Plan 2014-2020 for Aragon. The aim is to propose solutions to the specific problems of the rural environment, improving the competitiveness of the agri-food sector and carrying out efficient management of resources to achieve sustainable growth.
The project, coordinated by Tauste Centro Gestor de Estiércoles S.L., will last four years, starting in 2020 and ending in 2023. The remaining members of the group are: Agrupación de Defensa Sanitaria de Porcino nº 1 de Tauste (beneficiary partner); Intergia Energía Sostenible, S.L. (beneficiary partner); Universidad de Zaragoza; Centro Tecnológico Agropecuario Cinco Villas, S.L.; and Arento Grupo Cooperativo Alimentario de Aragón. Funding comes 80% from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and 20% from the Autonomous Community of Aragon.
The project is framed in the problem of managing slurry from the agri-food industry, specifically in pig farms, and aims to provide a response in the form of reducing the impact of pig slurry ponds and using them to generate energy. The general objective of the project is to develop a solution for covering slurry ponds that will enable the reduction of the emission of harmful gases, such as ammonia, and that will facilitate farms and management centres in adapting to and complying with the parameters relating to emissions set out in recent national and European regulations. The aim is to find innovative solutions for covering the pond and the benefits of reducing the surface area in contact with the air. In addition, the aim is to take advantage of these ponds to produce electricity from renewable sources without having to allocate additional land areas, by means of floating elements that incorporate photovoltaic panels.
The pig sector is at the forefront of final agricultural production in Aragon, representing 14% of national production and generating a volume of slurry of around 7 million cubic metres per year. Pig slurry is used in crop fields as a fertilizer, but the surplus material, rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, is a major pollutant of aquifers and rivers. Spain has not complied with the ammonia pollution limit for several years, and is the only country in Europe to have increased emissions of this gas by more than 10% over 1990 levels.
Therefore, the project seeks to achieve a solution to this problem, contributing to the objectives of efficient management of natural resources and improvement of agro-industrial processes; increase of generation by renewable energies; and protection of the environment.
The actions will be carried out in areas included in the Natura 2000 Network belonging to the municipality of Tauste, which are classified as Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) and Special Protection Areas for Birds (SPAs).