Innovating Energy were invited to present on behalf of the Coles Nurture Fund at the recent Supplier Partner Awards night, held at the Melbourne Convention Centre.

The theme was the Alley Vac and its positive environmental impact on the dairy farms that it will service.

Phil Horan CEO Innovating Energy was interviewed by Leah Weckert Chief Executive, Commercial and Express from the Coles management team.

Leah announced that the Coles Nurture Fund have now awarded $30 million in financial support to Australian small and medium businesses since 2015.

Through the Nurture Fund, Coles have provided financial support – mainly in the form of grants – to more than 90 Australian producers to help fund innovation and sustainability on their farms and in their factories.

Across Australia, businesses have come to Coles with some fantastic ideas to help them develop market-leading products and technologies and processes, and we’ve been delighted to support because they link back with our strategy to drive sustainability and inspire customers.

Leah mentioned that the audience of over 900 at the event would like to hear first-hand about the Alley Vac and what it would achieve for the dairies involved and asked Phil Horan to tell everyone here about the project and how the Nurture Fund has supported it?

Phil explained

The project involves building a $17 million dairy effluent plant at Nowra which will aggregate manure from 19 surrounding dairy farms – including farms run by Coles’ suppliers – to generate renewable energy near Nowra.

The project will significantly improve the dairy farming environment by cleaning up waterways and contributing to reducing CO2 emissions for the dairy farms who are constantly striving for solutions to reduce farm pollution and importantly generate sustainable energy

But a missing piece of the puzzle to turn effluent into electricity was how to collect it from 19 dairy farms across Nowra and transport it in large volumes to the biogas plant.

So, we decided to apply to the Coles Nurture Fund to purchase an Alley Vac – which is a large vacuum truck to collect and transport the manure.

The application to the Nurture Fund was successful and we received a grant for $455,000 to have the Alley Vac manufactured in Canada and brought to Australia.

Leah went on to say, at Coles, the Alley Vac is affectionately known as the “Poover” and asked, what difference will it – and the whole project – make for the farmers?

Phil explained that dairy farmers who are part of the plan will benefit from cheaper electricity and will also receive liquid fertiliser which they can apply to their pastures.

He said the Alley Vac will make a significant difference to the effluent management for the dairy farms in the Nowra area, solving an ongoing environmental problem which occurs when heavy rainfall leads to effluent run-off into the Shoalhaven River.

The initiative will protect the environment by reducing runoff into the local waterways whilst also converting what is currently a waste product into valuable renewable energy.

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