Finnish dairy company Valio has announced it will host a hackathon, with specialists from around the world aiming to find solutions for a more environmentally friendly milk production.
The competition will ask participants to develop a future milk farm which will make use of methane gas to generate new business opportunities while reducing its environmental impact.
The two-day event is set to take place in February 2018 under the name ‘Milk farm methane hack’ and is run in collaboration with Ultrahack, a Helsinki-based innovations development company.
Valio hopes to see ideas about reducing the methane output per cow, accelerating methane transformation to the less harmful carbon dioxide or capturing methane and using it locally near the farms.
Other domains where the company hopes to see innovations are novel methane utilisation solutions, measurement and detection solutions within the milk farm context and visualisations of methane capturing and utilisation.
Valio aims to include participants from a wide variety of backgrounds from technology to agriculture and service design. Specific areas of expertise that the company hopes to attract include gas technology and modelling, IoT, measurement and sensor technology, barn building and biogas processing.
Representatives from Valio, the Finnish innovation agency Tekes and the ministry of agriculture and forestry will judge the contestants’ submissions.
Currently, about 2.5% of Finland’s greenhouse gas emissions derive from milk production, according to recent statistics.
“The methane production of Finnish dairy farms has declined by nearly 40 percent over the past 25 years, mainly due to animal breeding," said Mika Koskinen, executive vice president at Valio. “As a significant milk producer Valio is responsible for continuously pursuing solutions that would allow us to reduce and use the methane gas generated as efficiently as possible. The new ideas yielded by the competition will benefit the entire agricultural sector.”
“In terms of the participants, we are looking for teams with the ability to come up with creative ideas and with multi-disciplinary know-how for solving the methane challenge,” said Virpi Jonson, Valio’s innovation manager in charge of the competition. “We welcome everyone – from researchers to students and representatives of the business sector. We’re hoping to attract people from diverse backgrounds and with diverse skills in fields ranging from technology to agriculture and service design.”
Valio previously worked to become more environmentally sustainable by introducing plant-based cartons for its dairy products in October. The gable-top cartons have a carbon footprint that is 50% less impactful than conventional gable-top packaging, according to the company.
© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Kevin Duggan. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.