Helping the dairy processing sector go ‘green’
CUSP Co-Investigator Angela Druckman, along with her Surrey colleagues Devendra Saroj from Civil and Environmental Engineering and Rosie Cole of Surrey Business School, have supported Food Forward Ltd in a successful funding bid.
Food Forward is a London-based green technology start-up company, that aims to be a leading business for the food sector. The funding of £60,000 awarded by Innovate UK will be used to build a flagship data platform for the UK dairy industry to encourage uptake of ‘green’ technologies.
The new tool, called Dairy Forward, will match UK manufacturers of dairy foods (such as cheese, butter, yoghurt) with suitable sustainable energy, food waste and water management technologies. For example, it will suggest sustainable solutions like solar power purchase agreements, anaerobic digesters and energy storage technologies.
The internet-based tool will collect data from a factory – say, for instance, a typical medium sized yoghurt manufacturer, processing 50,000 tonnes of milk per year – and will calculate its energy costs, roof space and the cost of solar panel installation. It then matches them with a solar company which can install and operate panels and sell renewable energy back to the factory. In this example, it is estimated that the tool will facilitate cutting the equivalent carbon emissions of 700 dairy cows.
The project aims to demonstrate that helping companies to visualise their resource footprint and the long-term benefits of specific clean technologies, while amplifying that demand to the technology providers, will speed up adoption of sustainable low-carbon solutions. It’s a good example of how theoretical concepts such as the circular economy can be implemented in practice.