Plastic and Seaweed Projects Triumph

PIC © Sandy Young 07970 268944 PICTURED Professor Stepen Marshall University of Strathclyde at the first Food from Thought Conference at Murrayfield, Edinburgh. A taste of things to come? Future farming and tomorrowÕs technology in the food and industry were among the topics under discussion at a conference at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, today (Thursday, 28 January). Organised by Interface Food & Drink, which supports business-academic partnerships in the sector, the thought-provoking conference looked at using sensors to monitor livestock health, converting agricultural waste into biofuels and consumer-led innovation. 07970 268 944

Two highly innovative collaborations have won Interface Food & Drink’s legacy competition providing funding of £88,000 towards industry–academic projects.

One project will test the innovative application of pyrolysis in converting waste plastic in the farming industry while the other will test the viability of using commercially produced seaweed in animal feeds.

The companies investigating the conversion of waste plastics into new products are Angus Growers, East of Scotland Growers, Kettle Produce and three academic partners; Edinburgh Napier University, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Strathclyde.

The second project analysing the use of seaweed in animal feeds is a collaboration between Davidson Brothers (Shotts) Limited and SAMS, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands. This research will focus on the viability of an innovative pre-treatment process of seaweeds to produce a nutritional and sustainable supplement for feed products; biomass will also be a by-product.

Helen Pratt, Project Manager at Interface Food & Drink, said: “Working together, business and academics can push ahead with really ground-breaking innovations which enhance the sustainability of the businesses in all senses of the word, and help the evolution of the dream of a circular economy into reality.

“These two projects, which will be the last funded through an Interface Food & Drink competition, stood out as not only having the potential to make a real difference to the individual businesses involved, but also to the wider industry, not only in their own competitive sectors but to primary production as a whole. The sustainability factor of both projects appealed greatly to the judges.”

William Houstoun, General Manager of Angus Growers, said: “If realised, this new approach is going to modernise the way the soft fruit and vegetable industry deals with plastic at the end of its productive life, changing the way wastes are viewed – as a resource and not an  expensive problem with a poor public image.

“This will offer multiple benefits to the industry, as well as the wider Scottish economy, such as cost savings on waste disposal, resource efficiency, reduced CO2 emissions, additional revenue streams from new product sales, and increasing the economic incentive to recycle plastics.”

Gary Dow, Company Accountant, of Davidsons Animal Feeds, said: “Our aim has always been to provide our customers with value for money products that are high performance in their use for livestock production.  By collaborating with experts from SAMS we hope to introduce a new, sustainable feedstock into our ingredients while maintaining the quality and high nutritional values our customers expect.”




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