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Hybridfarm market maturation project
Eco-innovative housing solution for efficient production of slaughter pigs with limited environmental impact.
Pig meat is by far the preferred meat in Europe but its production has a dramatic environmental burden both in the local neighbour populations and in overall air pollution impact. This problem is a cornerstone for Agrifarm’s mission and vision, stimulating our drive to develop novel and disruptive solutions towards a more intelligent, efficient and sustainable pig production. Agrifarm aims to actively contribute to a more eco-friendly pig production while simultaneously increasing overall profitability of this farming activity, thus addressing the core concerns of both farmers and citizens.
The development of more efficient solutions for slaughter pig farming is at the centre of clear conflict of interests, as there is a constant market drive to increase production efficiency, while society demands for an environmentally cleaner and more animal-friendly pig farming industry.
Agrifarm has developed a novel structural design for an eco-innovative barn for slaughter pigs – the Intellifarm for finishers. – Which makes use of its patented, prize-winning hybrid ventilation system to simultaneously reduce the need of mechanical ventilation and improve the capture of air polluting agents within the barn.
Pig farming stakeholders and their concerns are the strategic foundations of Agrifarm’s core company values and mission
This is possible by combining natural ventilation principles and efficient floor air suction, which captures the air directly at the pollution emission source. The remaining step towards commercial exploitation of the Intellifarm is the fullscale demonstration of both the core structural design and all associated technological components. This is directly addressed in the HybridFarm project.
This present project is a vital tool to jumpstart the market introduction of our innovative concept, which directly addresses the needs of all stakeholders associated with pig production. The HybridFarm project budget, is supported by both Agrifarm and EU, will back up the costs associated with the full scale validation of the innovative technological sub-systems involved.
Problem and business opportunity
The environmental problems of pig farming activities are further enhanced by the significant trend towards larger herds in slaughter pig production units. Indeed, and thanks to economy of scale effects, the profitability of pig farming activities increases for larger farms. However, increasing the number of animals in a farm is intrinsically correlated with an accompanying boost in the environmental impact of their excretory by-products. Thus, there is a conflicting trade-off between higher overall profitability and acceptable air pollution burden in pig farming activities.
Livestock welfare has become a topic of particular public concern and media attention.
Intellifarm development driving vectors
Energy plays an important role in pig farming cost structures. While specific costs like piglet acquisition, feeding and veterinary expenses still represent the majority of a pig farming expenditure, energy accounts for 20-25% of non-specific costs, which is comparable to the expenses associated with the working staff.
Therefore, reducing the carbon footprint associated with pig farming should be a central motivation for the design of more energetically efficient housing solutions, allowing not only to lower the energy costs but ultimately contributing towards a more sustainable and resource-efficient production of pigs.
The Intellifarm, for finishers was created at the crossroad between the motivation vectors presented previously in figure 1.2.A novel structural barn design based on a hybrid ventilation principle allows to considerably reduce the energy consumed for ventilation/heating of the barn while at the same time significantly minimizing ammonia and odour emissions. As a result of the reduced environmental impact, larger production units can be installed with a fraction of conventional pollution emission levels.
Intellifarm innovative design not only benefits the farmers, and the nearby populations, but it also greatly improves the welfare of the pigs on the barn due to the strong increase in indoor air quality. The improved indoor air quality also provides a better working environment for the staff in the barn, who are less exposed to ammonia, odour and dust.
Specific objectives for the project
The main objective of HybridFarm is to provide a low environmental impact solution for slaughter pig production, based on a novel and efficient hybrid ventilation system, which combines natural ventilation with floor air suction, supplied with photo- chemical air cleaning technology. The concept behind HybridFarm – IntelliFarm – allows massive reductions of ventilation/heating energy costs of up to 60%, which is combined with total 71% and 37% reductions on the emissions of ammonia and odours respectively. To date, full scale demonstration of the complete IntelliFarm housing for slaughter pigs remains as the critical last step towards market introduction of this technology.
Hybridfarm includes construction of two Intellifarm barns, and Agrifarm will promote visits and educative workshops for both potential future clients and regular citizens interested in taking a closer look at the advantages of our innovative barn for pigs.
Limitations of competing technologies and main advantages of IntelliFarm solution
Our company core ambition is to set the future standard for the construction of smart barns for more resource-efficient and environmental-friendly pig production.
Agrifarm has developed a completely disruptive solution for pig housing compared to traditional barns, not only focusing on the lowest construction costs. the Intellifarm clearly stands out as an innovative integrated concept for pig production, since development efforts were directed towards improving overall farming performance through advanced structural design of the building and by the inclusion of advanced technological sub-systems.
Thus, despite implying a higher initial investment cost (approximately +10 to 15%), it provides a strong reduction in operational costs, thanks to the massive savings in ventilation/heating energy costs (-60%). This directly translates in lower total costs over the entire life span of the barn, which gives an economic edge to the future end- users. The HybridFarm project will allow us to demonstrate and showcase the performance of the Intellifarm, and its market introduction has the potential to promote a paradigm shift in the pig farming industry. The ventilation system within a barn ensures appropriate air exchange, guaranteeing proper air renovation and providing a better climate for both animals and staff.
The air inside a pig barn contains a significant paramount of polluting agents, which should be properly neutralized prior exhaustion of the indoor air to the atmosphere. Therefore, Agrifarm, has developed Agri AirClean to minimize the environmental impact of pig farming.
The business objective of the HybridFarm project has two objectives – to significantly strengthen Agrifarm’s competitiveness, and to increase the pig farmers benefiting from the market introduction of a more energetically efficient and environmentally sustainable housing solution for slaughter pigs. The project will have a large impact for Agrifarm, as it will significantly increase its profitability and growth performance, materializing its potential to become a unique leading player in the construction of eco-innovative pig barns within Europe. Last but not least, this project will allow the market uptake of an innovative solution for pig farming aimed at reducing energy consumption and carbon footprint, while simultaneously alleviating the environmental burden of the air pollution generated in pig production.
The work plan for the project is divided into 6 work packages, schematically presented in the PERT diagram.