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An innovative milk-chilling system has not only saved the quality of a New Zealand farmer’s milk, but also his power bill. Meddo Farm in Waitoa, Waikato, was faced with a problem last summer after water quality issues forced owner Hans Geessink to find a new water supply for his dairy farm. However, when Geessink put down a new bore, the temperature of the water he

© N.K.

Milk-chilling technology that keeps its cool

found there was 26°C — 6°C higher than his previous supply. “We had our hands up against our back,” Geessink said. “It meant we could no longer comply with the current milk-chilling standards and we ran the real risk of our milk being rejected by the dairy company. We needed to find a milk snap-chilling system that could cope with the increased demand without our power bill going through the roof.” After investigating several options, Geessink decided on the Vari-COOL chilling system, designed by refrigeration specialist Coolsense and part-funded by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) as part of its technology demonstration program. many farmers will need to take action, with some requiring an

It was installed on Meddo Farm in May. Immediately there was a marked difference in milk temperature

upgrade of their milk-chilling systems.

at time of pickup, from 8°C down to 4°C. Moreover, while the

“It’s expensive to run a dairy farm, and the average New

higher water temperature increased the milk cooling requirement

Zealand dairy farm spends over $20,000 a year on electricity,”

by 30%, energy consumption on Meddo Farm has remained the

Archibald said. “So any technology that helps reduce this spend

same as the previous year.

is a big bonus for farmers.”

EECA Projects and Relations Manager Kirk Archibald said

But energy is also a controllable cost, Archibald added,

high groundwater temperatures are a problem for dairy farmers,

stating, “If you can reduce your energy spend, the savings can

particularly in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Northland. And with

be ploughed back into the farm or used in leaner months to keep

new milk-cooling regulations coming into effect from mid-2016,

the farm going.”

Say cheese! New camera can measure methane Swedish researchers have developed

The camera can be used to measure

a camera that can photograph and film

emissions from many environments,

the methane in the air around us. The


device is set to become an important part

combustion processes, animal husbandry

of the efforts to measure and monitor

and lakes. For each pixel in the image the

greenhouse gases, helping confirm the

camera records a high-resolution spectrum,

sources and sinks of methane in the

which makes it possible to quantify the


methane separately from the other gases.


“This gives us new possibilities for

University and Stockholm University,

mapping and monitoring methane sources

developed a hyperspectral infrared camera

and sinks, and it will help us understand

that weighs 35 kg and measures 50 x 45

how methane emissions are regulated

x 25 cm. It is optimised to measure the

and how we can reduce emissions,” said

same radiation that methane absorbs and

principal investigator David Bastviken,

which makes methane such a powerful

also from Linköping University. “So far the

greenhouse gas.

camera has been used from the ground,

“The camera is very sensitive, which

and now we’re working to make it airborne

means that the methane is both visible and

for more large-scale methane mapping.”

much higher resolution than previously,”

30 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016


The researchers, from Linköping

measureable close to ground level, with

A camera test at Foljesjon, a lake in a research area west of Vanersborg, Sweden. Image credit: Linköping University.


The study, ‘Making methane visible’, has been published in the journal

said study leader Magnus Gålfalk, from Linköping University. “Being able to

Nature Climate Change

measure on a small scale is crucial.”

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Sustainability Matters Feb/Mar 2016  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...

Sustainability Matters Feb/Mar 2016  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...