A BIOGAS firm that is pioneering the use of marine algae to make a more animal-friendly crop fertiliser has secured an international export bursary.

Ekogea UK launched its biogas plant at Hendwr Farm, Corwen in 2017 to develop its algae-derived BioComplex (BCxF), made from 100 per cent natural sources such as ascophyllum nodosum kelp.

Introduced to the agricultural and anaerobic digestion market last year, BCxF is considered a viable alternative to ammonia-based fertiliser as it has a digestion rate that is 150 per cent faster than a typical farm slurry plant.

It is already being put to use at broiler, pig, potato and dairy farms.

The firm, which also has a plant in Devon, has now been awarded a £1,000 grant by the UK Government’s Department of International Trade. It hopes the accolade will boost its overseas growth in North America and Australasia.

Ian Cain, director of Ekogea UK, said the Department of International Trade has “been a great help in advising us of best practice in trading with other countries”.

“We have a number of individuals and foreign companies who are currently looking to work with us in order to benefit their farmers,” he added.

The marine algae itself is sourced from the Island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. It has been shown to improve chicken health by allowing the animals to grow more naturally, while reducing levels of ammonia and disease. Better management of slurry can also improve the environmental impact of agriculture.

BCxF is different to most anaerobic digestion products because of the addition of polyuronic acid, which creates biological stability and more oligosaccharides to feed the bacteria that enhance biogas output.

The slurry is also pre-treated by micronisation, which reduces the size of particles for faster and more complete digestion.

In July, Ekogea UK's Corwen plant won the global Anaerobic Digestion & Biogas Industry Award for the Best Biogas Plant below 1MWe. The awards are the largest celebration of innovation in the industry and of the strides being made to improve agricultural practices.

For further information on Ekogea UK, visit www.ekogea.co.uk