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New Zealand University Scientists Develop Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Tech

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The recent COP26 climate summit in Glasgow focused on reducing greenhouse gas methane emissions, with New Zealand joining more than 100 countries in agreeing to reduce methane emissions by 30% over the next decade.

Lincoln University’s renowned experts recently unveiled another breakthrough technology that will support the dairy farming industry immediately in the combat against global climate change. The new technology, which was developed in collaboration with an agricultural company, is an effluent treatment system that suppresses methane emissions from farm dairy effluent ponds by up to 99%. The novel treatment system also reduces bacteria (E. coli) in treated effluent, lowers ammonia emissions, reduces odour, and minimises phosphate leaching losses from affluent areas into rivers by up to 90%.

Iron sulphate, a safe chemical used in the purification of drinking water, is added to effluent ponds to produce the system’s highly significant reductions in methane emissions. The greenhouse gas mitigation provided, according to both professors, will be a gamechanger for dairy farmers.

“Our development and demonstration of the new system, undertaken at the Lincoln University Research Dairy Farm, has proven that the new system is enormously effective at neutralising the methane-producing process, resulting in a 4 to 5% reduction in an average dairy farm’s overall methane emission. This is hugely significant for the industry, as it provides farmers with a new tool in their toolbox to help reduce methane emissions on-farm,” said Professor Cameron.

One of the scientists said they uncovered the new system’s efficacy in decreasing greenhouse gas emissions during the development phase of their previous award-winning ClearTech system, which could save billions of litres of freshwater a year if implemented across the New Zealand dairy industry. The gases collected off the effluent in experimental set-ups revealed a reduction in methane emissions of more than 90%, according to tests of the ClearTech system for unintended consequences.

Professor Bruce McKenzie, Acting Vice-Chancellor of Lincoln University, said the development of two significant and innovative agri-tech solutions that can be quickly and easily implemented on farmlands demonstrated the value of collaborative partnerships in addressing some of the world’s most pressing land-based challenges.

OpenGov Asia reported, New Zealand’s first-ever Emissions Reduction Plan will set the course for climate action through 2035, and the government is seeking feedback on proposals before finalising the official plan in time for Budget 2022. The Emissions Reduction Plan will set the course for climate action until 2035. It will lay out plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in a variety of sectors, including energy, transportation, waste, agriculture, construction, and financial services.

“We are putting forward for discussion a range of ideas that would reduce our emissions and can also create jobs and new opportunities for Kiwi businesses and our economy,” said the Prime Minister of New Zealand.

The government also wants to prioritise ideas that will save people’s money, such as cleaner energy, which results in lower utility bills. With the passage of the Zero Carbon Act and the work of the Climate Commission over the last four years, the government has laid the groundwork for a prosperous, low-emissions economy. The recent discussion document allows New Zealanders to express their preferences for policies that will help the country meet its climate targets.

The official document on the Emissions Reduction Plan, which will be released next year, will need to outline future policy and regulatory changes, as well as actions that businesses, towns and cities, and communities can take. It will also outline how we will make the transition in a way that is both inclusive and equitable. The consultation is the next step in this process.

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