ARENA announces funding for clean energy-powered heat pump solution for poultry

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Environmental services company Ground Source Systems (GSS) has received $318,000 in government funding to demonstrate a full-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) and ground-source heat pump system with gas backup. 

The system will be used for heating and cooling functions at a commercial broiler facility in Yanderra, New South Wales. 

The University of Melbourne will partner with GSS in the demonstration project to provide data analysis, content generation, and knowledge sharing across the sector. 

The grant, announced by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), will support the installation of a 100-200 kW thermal ground source heat pump system designed to replace LPG as fuel for heating and cooling a single poultry shed. 

According to GSS’ estimation, installing heat pumps powered by onsite solar PV has the potential to reduce total emissions by approximately 1 million tonnes per year and provide even better conditions for the chickens. 

Sheds used by the poultry broiler industry require both heating when chicks are young, and cooling as the chicks grow up. 

According to ARENA, the annual energy consumption of chicken farms amounts to around $80 million to $100 million in aggregate across Australia and produces around 1.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. 

A 100 kW solar PV unit will be installed on-site in a separate project to reduce emissions at the facility. This will demonstrate how the energy demands of sheds can be coordinated with on-site renewable energy production and determine the economic and environmental benefits to farmers. 

Daren Miller, chief executive officer of ARENA, said the project is expected to produce a case study that is crucial to driving uptake of the technology across the sector. 

“Heat pumps represent a viable alternative to traditional heating systems in helping to reduce emissions from Australia’s meat and poultry industry,” said Miller. 

“Ground Source Systems is showing what’s possible with the demonstration scale project and we’re hoping that the valuable knowledge gained will encourage even the larger poultry companies to jump on board and look to heat pumps as a viable solution to their energy needs and net zero goals.”