RES4LIVE is a research project that incorporates a sequence of technical tasks and actions that will finally lead to a high degree of de-fossilising the livestock sector. RES4LIVE considers the combination of technologies and solutions to cover a large fraction of energy demand in livestock farms. This demand is directly associated with the:
(1) livestock farm type, greatly defining the characteristics of the building and the necessary indoor thermal comfort for eliminating the heat stresses to the livestock,
(2) thermal and electricity needs (and their ratio) and any seasonal variability,
(3) quality and quantity of manure for biogas/biomethane production,
(4) geographical location (i.e. local climatic conditions).
RES4LIVE is strongly diversified in terms of farm types and considers applications in 3 experimental farms for swine, dairy, and poultry production, as well as in 1 commercial farm for swine. All these farms are scattered in diverse locations, covering the main climatic conditions in EU (Germany, Belgium, Italy, and Greece). The assessment of the monitored data will extract valuable conclusions for expanding the use of technologies in other livestock farms, and thus provide solutions to the entire sector. All the above are achieved with the following technologies:
- Adaptation of key RES (Renewable Energy Solutions) technologies that cover the needs of the three selected livestock farm types, adapted and tested at operational environment. These technologies are:
- Photovoltaic/Thermal (PVT) systems for combined electricity and heat production.
- Heat Pump for heating and cooling and precise environment control of livestock buildings.
- Biomethane generation from upgraded biogas that adds high value to the biogas
- Adoption of energy efficiency solutions and measures in livestock farms, such as:
- Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology for exploiting the waste/excess heat of biogas plants for producing additional electricity.
- Use of ground heat/thermal storage perfectly combined with the heat pump, to improve energy efficiency in livestock buildings and mitigate their thermal needs, supported with advanced geothermal control.
- Other measures and solutions to reduce the energy demand for the on-farm consumers, such as lighting (LEDs), ventilation (variable-speed motors), and heating/cooling needs (buildings insulation).
- Standard RES technologies, such as PV panels and biogas/biomethane CHP units.
- Electrification of machinery, such as electric-driven tractors, charged by the produced PV or CHP electricity, for reducing the fossil fuel consumption of on-farm machinery.
- Optimal design of the farm energy systems based on advanced numerical tools and methodologies, combined with smart energy control of indoor environment. The main features are to minimise energy demand (i.e. fossil fuel consumption) towards minimising animals stress and improved animals’ productivity and welfare.
Fig.1. RES4LIVE overall concept
The RES technologies that will be combined for RES4LIVE concept are:
- PV panels that will be installed in the farm to increase the electrical share of solar electricity.
- Electric-driven machinery (e.g. e-tractors) that will be charged by PV electricity in order to reduce their fossil fuel consumption.
- Thermal energy storage (TES) tanks to store hot water and will be coupled with heat pump and PVT collectors.
- Energy efficiency measures including technologies such as building envelope insulation, LED lighting and variable-drive motors for ventilation, to reduce the buildings’ energy needs.
- Biomethane/biogas CHP plant to exploit the high energy content of manure for biogas production, which is preferably upgraded to biomethane and can be used for cogeneration of heat and power.
- Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC), which may exploit the large amount of heat excess that usually is wasted from CHP units, in order to produce electricity.
Fig. 2. RES4LIVE conceptual approach
The strategic objective of RES4LIVE to develop and bring into the market integrated, cost-effective and case-sensitive RES solutions towards achieving fossil-free livestock farming. To that end, RES4LIVE will adapt and test promising RES technologies in energy-intensive livestock farming (swine, dairy and poultry) for greatly reducing the fossil energy that is the main source to cover the energy demand. Dedicated, optimal designs combined with energy efficiency and other solutions are proposed, demonstrated in 4 pilot farms and evaluated technically, economically, environmentally, and socially. The overall objective is to provide advanced and cost-effective technologies to the livestock sector that ensure the sustainability of the farms’ operation, and the superior thermal comfort of the animals for increased productivity with minimum climate change impact.is