The Australian government will provide over $221,000 (A$318,000) in funding to Ground Source Systems for the demonstration of a full-scale solar photovoltaic and ground-source heat pump system project at a commercial broiler facility.
In a statement, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency said the hybrid system with the gas backup will include the installation of a 100 to 200 kilowatt (kW) thermal ground source heat pump to replace liquefied petroleum gas as fuel or heating and cooling a single shed for housing chickens.
A 100 kW solar project will be installed onsite to reduce emissions. The commercial broiler facility for the demonstration is in Yanderra, New South Wales.
“The project will demonstrate how the energy demands of sheds can be coordinated with on-site renewable energy production, showing both economic and environmental benefits to farmers to further support the uptake of the technology across the industry,” ARENA said.
Sheds requiring heating for young chicks and cooling for chicken are used by the poultry broiler industry. With this, annual energy bills for chicken farms reach around A$80m to $100m, with emissions of around 1.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide yearly.
Heat pumps installation, powered by onsite solar, could reduce total emissions by around one million tonnes annually, according to Ground Source Systems estimates, and would provide better conditions for the chickens.
ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the project could provide a case study to help boost uptake in the sector, adding that heat pumps can be a “viable alternative” to traditional heating systems that help reduce emissions.
The University of Melbourne will assist Ground Source Systems on the project by providing data analysis, content generation and knowledge sharing across the sector, it said.