Energy-conscious farming

Project: Research

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Main research question/goal
The many research stations and research institutions in Flanders continuously develop their knowledge about energy savings and alternative energy sources (including energy crops) for agricultural and horticultural applications. The diversity of research in this area causes knowledge to fragment both regionally and temporally and it therefore does not always reach the entire target group. The aim of this interreg collaborative project is to maxize sensibilization and coaching of the target group (farmers and horticulturists). The project partners have developed a common strategy and are using a common communication platform to meet their goals. Each participating research institute contributes its own expertise within the project. ILVO's expertise relates to mechanical ventilation and energy crops.

Research approach
ILVO develops an online tool to calculate the ventilation cost on-farm for intensive animal husbandry. The farmer therefore gets an immediate idea of the possible electricity savings by simulating the implementation of specific energy-saving measures with the tool. At the same time, fundamental research is done, such as the monitoring of the effect of dirt built-up in air scrubbers on the energy consumption. The second subproject deals with the potential of Miscanthus giganteus x as an on-farm energy crop. By growing Miscanthus, the farmer can provide part or all of the farm’s heating needs. ILVO is also conducting its own research to extend practical knowledge about energy crops.

The tool for electricity consumption by mechanical ventilation is supporting energy savings in general. It encourages the farmer to invest in energy saving measures that are often free of cost. The demo-cultivation of Miscanthus is showing the farmers an alternative to become independent or self-sufficient for thermal energy. The cultivation of Miscanthus is rather unknown. Nevertheless, it has great advantages: it complies with normal agricultural practices and grows with a minimal input of labour and requires no plant protection or fertilization. Especially its potential to grow on marginal land is a plus because fields of marginal quality can still be of value to the farmer.
Effective start/end date1/04/1030/09/12

ID: 4154785