• Status: Closed

  • Key features: Total funding available for Phase 1 is £650,000. A budget of up to £10m may be available for a Phase 2.

  • Programme: SBRI

  • Award: Phase 1 funding is £650,000 and Phase 2 funding up to £10m

  • Opens: 10 Dec 2012, 00:20

  • Registration closes: 13 Feb 2013, 12:00

  • Closes: 20 Feb 2013, 12:00

  • Support phone number: 0300 321 4357

Sustainable Utilisation of Poultry Litter

SUMMARY

Invest Northern Ireland (InvestNI) on behalf of the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and the Northern Ireland Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI) has launched a Small Business Research Initiative Competition (in partnership with Innovate UK) to stimulate the development of sustainable and innovative solutions for the utilisation of poultry litter.

The broiler poultry sector in Northern Ireland is a significant part of the local economy. The sector, however, produces a significant by-product - around 260ktpa (thousand tonnes per annum) of poultry litter which could rise to 400ktpa within 5-10 years.

Traditionally, the poultry industry in Northern Ireland has relied on spreading on agricultural land as its primary method for management of poultry litter, but such practices are no longer sustainable. Poultry litter has a relatively high phosphorus content and phosphate losses via run-off contributes to nutrient enrichment of streams, rivers and lakes (eutrophication).

Action to address nutrient enrichment is required by EU legislation and further action is required in relation to the management of poultry litter before the next Nitrates Action Programme is agreed with the European Commission in 2014.

Applications are therefore being invited for a SBRI Competition to develop innovative solutions which will present the Northern Ireland poultry industry with practical, economic and sustainable ways of reducing the phosphorus surpluses which currently arise as a result of the application of poultry litter to land.

Competition criteria will consider the appropriateness of the technical approach, how sustainability and environmental challenges will be addressed, the degree of innovation, and how this is balanced against project risk and timescales, the technical and commercial viability of the proposal, and the appropriateness of the project management arrangements and financial proposals.

Phase 1 of the competition will open on 10 December 2012 and the closing date for Applications is 12:00 noon on 20 February 2013. Contracts will be awarded, to those selected, in May 2013 for completion within 6 months. The total funding available for Phase 1 is £650,000. The maximum  funding for any single contract in Phase 1 will be £75,000 (inc. VAT). A budget of up to £10m may be available if Phase 1 identifies sufficiently robust and viable proposals for a Phase 2. 

AN INTRODUCTION TO SBRI

SBRI enables government departments to connect with technology organisations, finding innovative solutions to specific public sector challenges and needs. It aims to use the power of government procurement to accelerate technology development, supporting projects through the stages of feasibility and prototyping which are typically hard to fund. SBRI offers an excellent opportunity for businesses, especially early stage companies, to develop and demonstrate technology, supported by an intelligent lead customer. 
 
SBRI Competitions have a two phase structure. Phase 1 is intended to show the technical feasibility and commercial viability of the proposed concept. Phase 2 contracts are intended to develop and evaluate prototypes or demonstrators from the more promising technologies identified in Phase 1.
 
At Phase 1 a number of suppliers are selected by an open competition process to develop their solutions to the specific identified needs. Development work is funded up to 100% of justified cost or to a stated maximum value. Suppliers retain the Intellectual Property generated from the project, with certain rights of use retained by the contracting Authority. 
 
SBRI is championed by Innovate UK. 

BACKGROUND AND CHALLENGE

The broiler poultry sector in Northern Ireland is a significant part of the local economy, sustaining on-farm employment for over 1400 people, with a further 4600 people employed in processing, and generating over 14% of the gross output of the local agriculture sector. 
 
However, the industry also produces a significant by-product - around 260ktpa (thousand tonnes per annum) of poultry litter (spent bedding material and manure generated by indoor rearing of birds). Given the scope for further industry expansion, this could rise to 400ktpa within 5-10 years (based on a 50% expansion of current capacity). 
 
Traditionally, the poultry industry in Northern Ireland has relied on the spreading of poultry litter on agricultural land as its primary method for management of poultry litter. Application of manures, including poultry litter, to land over many years has exceeded agronomic need and resulted in phosphorus surpluses in a significant proportion of local agricultural soils.
 
Such practices are no longer sustainable if the risk of phosphorus loss via run-off to water courses is to be managed effectively. This is particularly the case for poultry litter which has a relatively high phosphorus content. Phosphorus, in the form of phosphates, contributes to nutrient enrichment of streams, rivers and lakes (eutrophication) which is an important water quality issue for Northern Ireland. 
 
Action to address nutrient enrichment is required by both the EU Nitrates Directive1 and the EU Water Framework Directive2. A series of actions have already been implemented through the current Nitrates Action Programme Regulations (Northern Ireland) 20103, The Phosphorus (Use in Agriculture) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 20064 and Water Framework Directive River Basin Management Plans5. Further action is required in relation to the management of poultry litter, before the next Nitrates Action Programme is agreed with the European Commission in 2014. 
 
The challenge being addressed by this competition is, therefore, the development of sustainable and innovative solutions for the utilisation of poultry litter which will address the issue of phosphorus surpluses and prepare Northern Ireland for the next Nitrates Action Programme for 2015-2018. 
 
 

THE FUNDING BODIES

The competition is being run by Invest Northern Ireland (www.investni.com) on behalf of the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (www.dardni.gov.uk) and the Northern Ireland Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (www.detini.gov.uk) and supported by the Department of the Environment (www.doeni.gov.uk).
 
Project management support is being provided by the Strategic Investment Board (www.sibni.org). The Central Procurement Directorate (www.cpdni.gov.uk) is providing procurement support. 

SCOPE

The desired outcomes from the competition are: 
  • One or more innovative technologies or processes which will present the Northern Ireland poultry industry with practical, economic and sustainable ways of reducing phosphorus surpluses currently arising as a result of the application of poultry litter to land. 
In developing their proposals, Applicants are required to take account of the following scope: 
  • Solutions must be able to deal with the variable nature and moisture content of poultry litter. 
     
  • Solutions should be "end to end" i.e. from receipt of the poultry litter through to final destination of all constituent parts. 
Though the goal is to encourage the development of long term solutions which address poultry litter surpluses on a regional or national scale, Applicants presenting proposals for the development of smaller scale or interim solutions will also be considered. 

APPLICATION PROCESS

SBRI competitions are open to all organisations that can demonstrate a route to market for their solution. The sponsor Departments are strongly encouraging applications from organisations that can deliver practical and economically viable solutions. Collaboration is encouraged to avoid duplication or part solutions; the emphasis should be on innovation and demonstration of capability.
 
Phase 1 should include tangible results of experiments or trials, and should not be just a desk study. The deliverables for Phase 1 will comprise a commercial in confidence report using the template provided (SBRI_ DA_132_009). 
 
The deadline for applications is 12.00 noon on 20 February 2013. In order to apply you must register for the competition by 12.00 noon on 13 February 2013
 
When you register at www.innovateuk.org/content/competition/sustainable-utilisation-of-poultry-litter.ashx you will be sent login details for the FTP site where you will be able to download the guidance documents, you will also be sent an application form with an assigned reference number. You will need this reference number for all subsequent enquiries. 
 
Directions on how to complete the Application Form can be found in the Invitation to Tender (SBRI_ DA_132_001). 
 
The application forms are suitable for ONE application only. If you intend to submit more than one application, or have any other questions about the application process please request further information from the Business Support Group using the contact details below. 
 
Questions related to the particular requirements of this competition should be addressed directly to info@suplproject.org
 

FURTHER INFORMATION

OPEN DAY

It is intended to hold an Open Day for potential Applicants in early January 2013 in Belfast. Interested organisations should register their details with info@suplproject.org by end December 2012.

KEY DATES

  • Competition Launch: 10 December 2012
  • Deadline for Registration: 13 February 2013 12.00 noon
  • Deadline for submission of Applications: 20 February 2013 12:00 noon
  • Applicants notified of decision: May 2013
  • Phase 1 Contracts awarded: May 2013
  • Feedback provided by: May 2013
  • Phase 1 Contracts complete: October 2013
  • Phase 2 Commencement: December 2013

An indicative timetable for the competition is shown above. Successful Applicants will be advised according to the key dates shown above and will be expected to mobilise rapidly to start Phase 1 of the project.

It is important that Phase 1 projects start soon after the contract has been issued so that all projects can proceed without delay. 

RESULTS

You can review the results of this competition here.