University of the West of Scotland’s spinout company, AlbaSense has secured £339,269 in funding from the Digital Dairy Chain’s Collaborative R&D Funding Competition, awarded by the UK’s national innovation agency, Innovate UK.

The funding is for a project that aims to revolutionise the dairy industry’s approach to greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the Dairy UK, the production of milk contributes towards 2.8% of UK greenhouse gas emissions, with the majority of these emissions attributed to methane. Globally, cattle contributes to 13% of methane emissions. Also, the green house gas impact of methane is 34 times that of CO2.

By creating a low-cost, durable methane sensor, the project aims to improve productivity and sustainability in dairy production. The methane sensors can be quickly integrated into existing farm equipment, such as milking robots, with minimal installation costs.

Professor Des Gibson, Founder and CEO of AlbaSense, expressed his enthusiasm for this groundbreaking venture, stating: “This project signifies a significant leap forward in the quest for a more sustainable dairy production process. By developing a cost-effective, retrofittable methane sensor, we’re empowering farmers to play an active role in reducing methane emissions.”

The dairy sector has been actively addressing the urgent need to curb methane emissions, employing strategies including genetic modification and the use of feed additives. However, the absence of an industry standard for methane measurement at the operational farm level has underscored the immediate need for reliable, cost-effective measurement methods to optimise emission reduction strategies.

AlbaSense will collaborate on this project with partners, including University of Strathclyde and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). The Digital Dairy Chain’s Collaborative R&D Competition which ran in the Spring of this year, saw funding totalling £2M awarded to various innovative projects with a focus on improving dairy production.

Digital Dairy Chain’ Programme Director, Stuart Martin said: “Partnering with AlbaSense on this project is a significant step forward for the dairy industry and we’re delighted that Innovate UK awarded this collaboration the funding to proceed.

“The development of low-cost wireless methane sensors holds immense promise for enhancing sustainability and productivity in high-value dairy production. We’re excited to work closely with AlbaSense and the other Digital Dairy Chain partners to drive innovation in this critical area.”

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News

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