Monthly Archives: June 2019

Climate report shows need of efficient biogas production

As climate scientists and world leaders met in Poland in December, in the US the role that renewable energy – and biogas in particular – can play in mitigating the effects of climate change were highlighted by a report to Congress.

The fourth National Climate Assessment report¹ (NCA4) was published on 30 November 2018 under the 1990 Global Change Act. Among its recommendations was the ‘increased deployment of renewable energy.’

The good news is that adaptation planning and implementation activities are already occurring across the country – these mitigation and adaptation activities often present opportunities for additional immediate and localised benefits, such as improving local air quality and investments in infrastructure.

One renewable energy technology which provides a number of benefits in addition to low-carbon energy generation is the production of biogas through anaerobic digestion (AD). As well as producing low-carbon energy (the biogas produced can be used to generate heat and/or electricity, or can be converted into biomethane fuel), anaerobic digestion provides a method for the efficient treatment and disposal of certain biological wastes, prevents methane emissions from the uncontrolled decomposition of such waste, and provides a valuable product (known as digestate) which can improve soil health and, with long term use, increase the ability of soils to sequester carbon. Using digestate to fertilise soils also reduces the need for synthetic nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilisers.

As a member of the American Biogas Council (ABC), HRS Heat Exchangers agrees with the Council’s response² to the NCA4 report that, ‘Building more biogas systems to recycle our organic waste into renewable energy and soil products is a critical near term action we can take to make a significant beneficial impact.’ However, from working with the developers and operators of AD plants around the world, HRS knows that not every AD facility is equal. While all provide the above benefits, the overall efficiency of the plant determines how much energy is used or wasted in processes such as pre-treating feedstock or drying digestate.

Matt Hale, International Sales and Marketing Director at HRS Heat Exchangers, comments:

The American Biogas Council is right to say that, ‘one of the most obvious actions we must take to protect our climate is recycling organics in the waste stream, and to do that, we need to policies that ensure the construction of more biogas systems.’ Making biogas plants as efficient as possible will not only increase the environmental benefits they provide, but will also improve economic returns for developers and operators, helping to increase the deployment of this vital technology. HRS provides a number of systems, from feedstock pre-treatment right through to digestate management, that not only increase plant efficiency and product value, but which often do so using existing heat so as to further improve the overall environmental benefits.


² The post Climate report shows need of efficient biogas production appeared first on HRS Heat Exchangers.

Bransford Webbs sends zero waste to landfill

The Bransford Webbs Plant Company has announced that, working in conjunction with its in conjunction with its waste collection contractor Smiths of Gloucester, it is now a zero to landfill business.

As well as being at the forefront of the industry initiative to replace black plastic pots with a taupe kerbside-recyclable alternative, all the company’s waste which would traditionally have gone to landfill, is now being diverted through other means, including Energy from Waste (where it is burnt at over 850oC to generate heat to produce electricity) and Refuse Derived from Fuel (produced by sorting and processing solid general waste which is shredded and baled up to be used as fuel). Any unburnt waste collects as bottom ash and can be used in recycled building materials. In additional, all emissions from energy-from-waste generation are carefully controlled.

In a statement, Bransford Webbs said that were, “Very proud of their environmental credentials and have achieved the BS8555 accreditation for environmental management for ten consecutive years, having first achieved this important certification back in 2008. Our environmental objectives are reviewed and updated on an annual basis.”

Among other targets, the company has reduced its use of peat, and catches and reuses all the rainwater which falls on the glasshouses and buildings.

Photo Credit: Bransford Webbs The post Bransford Webbs sends zero waste to landfill appeared first on Hort News on 21 March 2019.

UK soft fruit continues popularity surge

The Fresh Produce Journal reports that consumer demand for soft fruit shows no signs of slowing down after the sector recorded a volume increase of 3.3 per cent last year, while values rose 7.9 per cent.

The article quotes Jo Mumford, business strategy analyst at fruit supplier AG Thames, as saying, “Blueberries and raspberries have featured with ever-increasing frequency in shoppers’ baskets, with the number of purchase occasions being a key driver of change for the berry category. Nearly nine in ten households now buy berries during the course of a year, which continues to show small uplifts as more and more shoppers encounter their benefits.”

However, issues such as labour availability and last year’s hot weather have caused issues for growers, while fierce supermarket competition is putting prices under pressure. While the growth seen in the category is significant, some analysts point out that it is lower than that seen more than a decade ago when the berry craze began.

Photo Credit: Pexels The post UK soft fruit continues popularity surge appeared first on Hort News on 21 March 2019

Veg charity teams up with HelloFresh

The Alexandra Rose Charity, which supplies vouchers that low income families can buy fresh fruit and vegetables, has teamed up with recipe box company HelloFresh to help provide fruit and veg for families on low incomes who struggle to afford it.

This partnership will see HelloFresh distribute leaflets, which tell the story of ‘Rose Voucher mum’ Lamratu, in its meal boxes until 29 March as part of HelloFresh’s mission to help families eat more veg with every meal.

“Before I started receiving Rose Vouchers my boys didn’t even know what fruit was because I couldn’t afford to buy any fruit or vegetables” says Lamratu. A Rose Voucher Mum for the last year, Lamratu has seen a huge improvement in her son’s health. After receiving Rose Vouchers from her Hackney Children’s Centre, Lamratu gradually introduced her children to an increasing variety of fruit and veg.

Andre Dupin, Head Chef at HelloFresh said, “We want to help ensure that every family includes more fresh fruit and veg into their diets – something that Alexandra Rose helps families to achieve every day.”

Jonathan Pauling, Chief Executive of Alexandra Rose Charity, added, “We are grateful that HelloFresh have given their considerable weight to support our charity’s mission. 23 per cent of parents in the UK worry about not having enough money to feed their families. Partnering with HelloFresh means thousands more people are learning about our work and how they can help us fund vouchers so we can reach even more families in need.”

Photo Caption: HelloFresh will distribute leaflets highlighting the work of the Alexandra Rose Charity in its recipe boxes.

Photo Credit: HelloFresh The post Veg charity teams up with HelloFresh appeared first on Hort News on 21 March 2019.

Aldi to trial plastic-free brassicas in Scotland

Aldi is to trial the sale of five different brassica products in Scotland without plastic over the next six weeks as part of its commitment to reduce packaging and plastic waste.

The retail has pledged to reduce all packaging by half by 20125, compared to the level used in 2015, and for 100 per cent of its own label packaging to be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2022 (where it does not have a detrimental effect on product quality or safety, or increase food waste). It has also replaced black trays on four fresh produce lines with clear alternatives which are easier to recycle.

The trial will see cauliflowers and four types of cabbage; pointed, red, Savoy and white, sold without plastic wrapping. If successful and rolled out across the UK, the retailer says the move would take a further 110 tonnes of plastic out of the business.

Fritz Walleczek, Aldi UK Managing Director for Corporate Responsibility, commented, “We’re working hard to reduce plastic, but we also need to ensure that reducing packaging doesn’t lead to unnecessary food waste. We’re hoping the outcome of this trial will be positive, and something that we can roll out across the rest of the UK.”

Over the last year the retailer claims to have replaced more than 2,500 tonnes of plastic with recyclable alternatives across its supply base.

Photo Credit: Aldi – Picture by Simon Hadley The post Aldi to trial plastic-free brassicas in Scotland appeared first on Hort News on 21 March 2019.

Tough chemicals need HRS’ tough heat exchangers

At CHEMUK 2019 Stand F10, HRS Heat Exchangers will showcase its SI Series of multitube heat exchangers, which includes a double tubeplate to aid leak detection and prevent cross-contamination between the service fluid and product.

Whether you are processing fine chemicals or treating complex waste streams, every part of the process needs to be reliable, and heat exchangers are no exception. From heating process materials to evaporation during waste treatment processes, HRS Heat Exchangers uses only the toughest materials – such as stainless steel, Teflon and PEEK – and the most robust designs.
HRS’ heat exchangers are designed to be resistant to corrosion and fouling, while operating at a wide range of temperatures. We provide a large range of models for fine chemical processing and solvent recovery, petrochemical and waste treatment, as well as the cleaning and recovery of process water and waste streams.

Our double tube heat exchangers include the DTI and DTR Series, as well as the multitube K and SI Series. The DTR Series features removable tubes for ease of servicing and inspection, while the SI series includes the security of a double tubeplate. With the G Series we are also able to provide cooling and heat recovery for gaseous materials.

Also on display at the event will be HRS’ patented Unicus Series of scraped-surface heat exchangers. Able to deal with the most fouling substrates, they are also gentle enough to maintain the quality of complex materials. Visitors to HRS’ stand can also find out how this technology is being used in the company’s Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) waste management solution.

Not only does ZLD reduce the costs and environmental issues associated with the disposal of chemicals and process water, but it can reduce water use and, most importantly, recovery valuable products such as fine chemicals, catalysts and heavy metals from waste streams, allowing them to be re-used.

Whether you are heating or cooling as part of your process, pre-treating raw materials or cleaning or processing waste streams, high levels of heat transfer, together with the option of heat recovery, means that heat exchangers from HRS provide efficient, reliable and long lasting operation with relatively low energy use.

HRS Heat Exchangers, Stand F10, CHEMUK 2019

The post Tough chemicals need HRS’ tough heat exchangers appeared first on HRS Heat Exchangers.

American LED supplier enters European market

The Fluence brand of LED lighting, produced by international lighting company Osram, is to begin marketing its horticultural lighting range in Europe.

Founded in Texas in 2012, Fluence Bioengineering was founded in Texas in 2012 and has seen rapid growth, resulting in them now being one of the biggest players in the US and Canadian horticultural industry. In particular their LED solutions are used in vertical farming and legal cannabis cultivation, where it has the biggest share of the market. Last year Fluence was purchased by German-based Osram, whose LED chips were already used in Fluence products.

Timo Bongartz has been appointed as the new EMEA manager. He says that while the company expects legal cannabis production to grow in Europe, it is also looking to supply producers of more traditional horticultural crops. “With every country following its own rules, [cannabis]is not an easy market,” he points out.

The company has already supplied lights to indoor farming company Bowery Farming, and Timo adds, “Our RAZR and SPYDR solutions match the crop very well, and the companies match as well. These type of growers are used to innovating and are open to new developments .Therefore we also have a good fit with similar farms, especially in the Nordics: Sweden, Finland, Denmark for example. The fact that we’re supported by Osram gives them trust in our products as well.”

Photo Caption: In the US and Canada Fluence has become a leading supplier of LEDs for legal cannabis production

Photo Credit: Fluence by Osram The post American LED supplier enters European market appeared first on Hort News on 14 March 2019.

Report warns fruit and veg at risk of climate change

A new report warns that British-grown fresh produce is at risk from climate change due to factors such as a lack of water, unpredictable weather events and warmer average temperatures.

Published last month by The Climate Coalition: Recipe for disaster: climate change threatens British-grown fruit and veg,cites many of the supply issues caused by last year’s difficult growing conditions and warns that they could become the new normal.

According to the authors, who have drawn on research by the Priestley International Centre for Climate, apple growers lost around 25% of their harvest in 2017 due to unexpectedly late frosts. Carrot (down a reported 25-30%) and onion yields (reportedly down 40% on a normal year) were hampered in 2018 by warmer than average temperatures. Potato yields were down on average 20% in England and Wales in 2018 compared to the previous season, making it the 4th smallest harvest since 1960.

Other crops which the report’s authors say could suffer include grapes, cauliflower, lettuce and onions. Over the last decade more than half of UK farmers say their business has been affected by a severe climatic event.

Photo Caption: More than half the farmers in the UK say they have experienced severe weather events.

Photo Credit: NOAA Photo Library The post Report warns fruit and veg at risk of climate change appeared first on Hort News on 14 March 2019.

EU to launch fruit and veg observatory

The European Commission will launch a new market observatory for fruit and vegetables later this year, a move which it says will ‘bring greater transparency and analysis to [a]key sector for European agriculture.’ It will also launch a market observatory for wine at the same time.

Although fruit and vegetables account for 2401 per cent of EU agricultural output, because the fruit and vegetable sector comprises such a wide range of products, the focus of the new observatory will be on tomatoes, apples, citrus fruit, peaches and nectarines.

The Commission currently has four observatories for crops (cereals, oilseeds and proteins), sugar, meat and milk. As part of the plan sector experts will meet regularly to discuss the state of the market.

Photo Caption: The European Commission is to launch a new market observatory for fruits and vegetables.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons The post EU to launch fruit and veg observatory appeared first on Hort News on 14 March 2019.

Modified bacteria could replace pesticides

A team of researchers led by Cardiff University has identified bacteria which could provide an effective and safe biopesticide.

The Burkholderia group of bacteria is known to protect crops against a number of diseases, but studies linking them to serious lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis (CF) in the 1990s led to them being withdrawn from the market. By sequencing the genomic DNA of the bacteria, the team was able to identify Burkholderia’s antibiotic-making gene, Cepacin, and further testing demonstrated that Cepacin offers highly effective protection against damping off in plants.

Using genetic engineering techniques similar to those used to produce live vaccines, the researchers are also exploring how to improve the safety of the bacteria. “Burkholderia split their genomic DNA across 3 fragments, called replicons,” explained Professor Mahenthiralingam, lead researcher on the project. “We removed the smallest of these 3 replicons to create a mutant Burkholderia strain which, when tested on germinating peas, still demonstrated excellent biopesticidal properties.”

Work with mice suggests that this mutant strain does not persist in the lungs, and the project, which also involved the Universities of Warwick and Liverpool, and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, has now been awarded more than £1 million from BBSRC to help progress the next stage of research to develop an effective and safe biopesticide that does not build up to harmful levels in the environment.

Photo Caption: The modified bacteria was shown to be effective against damping off in peas

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons The post Modified bacteria could replace pesticides appeared first on Hort News