GEA and Unilever to improve sustainability on dairy farms

GEA’s new manure enricher solution ProManure E2950

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The GEA ProManure E2950 manure enricher is a container-based solution and can easily be implemented into the farm’s infrastructure. Courtesy- GEA

GEA, a German specialist in the food processing sector, and British multinational consumer packaged goods company Unilever are joining forces to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in dairy farming by installing GEA’s new manure enricher solution ProManure E2950. 

During the initial phase of the partnership, GEA will install four units on Dutch farms that supply milk to Unilever. Over a one-year period, the data of these systems will be analyzed to measure their impact on Unilever’s carbon footprint. Thus, Unilever and GEA will assess and scale up the potential of the system to significantly reduce GHG emissions throughout the milk production process, improving Unilever’s sustainability along its value chain.

A cooperation to generate value for farmers

The GEA manure enricher enables dairy farms to produce environmentally friendly organic fertilizer locally on their farms just with their livestock slurry, air and electricity. Through innovative plasma technology, nitrogen from the air is added into the manure. 

At the same time, the manure enricher technology utilizes all available nutrients on the farm by reducing ammonia losses, that typically occur during storage and field application, by up to 95 percent. All nutrients including increased nitrogen is available to the plants in a targeted and immediate manner. Thus, plant growth is supported, and the crop yield can be increased by up to 40% compared to untreated manure. Moreover, methane emissions from manure storage are eliminated during the process. All these effects can reduce a farm’s overall carbon footprint by up to 30 percent.

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Innovative plasma technology enriches the manure with nitrogen from air.
Courtesy- GEA

“At Unilever we are convinced that technology and innovation is key to decarbonize the dairy industry“, says Eric Soubeiran, managing director – Climate and Nature Fund at Unilever. This partnership between four dairy farmers of our supplier CONO Kaasmakers, Unilever and GEA is a good illustration of creating a circular farm management system. By implementing this technology, we are deploying our regenerative strategy and support significant reduction of the carbon footprint of our dairy ingredients. This ultimately provides more sustainable products for our consumers.”

“An important part of our Next Generation Farming philosophy is to empower dairy farmers around the world to sustainably future-proof their operations in times of tight margins, environmental regulations and increasing complexity. And at the end of the day to produce milk and food more climate-friendly. Therefore, we are very pleased that Unilever has chosen GEA as partner, as this is an important endorsement for our innovative solutions,” says Peter Lauwers, CEO of GEA Farm Technologies. “As one of the world’s largest system suppliers for the food industry and frontrunner for sustainable change, we will put all our efforts together with Unilever on this manure enricher solution to promote circular farming.”

This pilot is supported by Unilevers’ Climate & Nature Fund which is a commitment to invest 1 billion Euros by 2030 in meaningful climate, nature, and resource efficiency projects, to transform the way our products are made and reach end of life. It is an initiative powered by Unilever’s well-known brands, such as Knorr, Dove, and Ben & Jerry’s, to drive value creation while having a positive impact on the planet.

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