Future-proof farms with limited environmental impact
Have you ever heard of carbon credits? For Heirbaut's farmers, this term is anything but strange. In fact, they are actively engaged in 'Carbon Farming'. They make their own contribution to climate mitigation by reusing residual flows from one stage as raw materials for the next.
In five targeted steps, they have created a closed business loop that revolves entirely around circular farming. Heirbaut uses manure gases from the barn (the cows graze in the meadow for eight hours every day) and the numerous solar panels on the roof to produce energy. Balancing the livestock sector as much as possible thus goes hand in hand with energy generation that reduces emissions.
Excess grass is pressed for the simple reason that grassland is excellent at absorbing CO2 from the air through photosynthesis. By feeding nitrogen and proteins from this grass juice to algae, the proteins from grass finally become a food source for humans. Here, it is crucial to break the cell wall of the algae so that the proteins become digestible for human consumption.
At the same time, these algae contribute to CO2 removal through photosynthesis, which brings an additional benefit. The algae grown by Heirbaut is called Chlorella. This protein source is similar to that of a chicken egg, with the important difference that Chlorella is plant-based and contains significantly less saturated fats.
The next phase will no longer produce only roughage for Heirbaut's cows, but also winter cereals for human consumption. This may reduce imports of grain. Besides animal feed and grain, Heirbaut is also betting on growing hemp. The hemp seeds (after analysis) have their use in food and one caps carbon with the hemp fibre used in sustainable housing construction.
If you then look out on these cows in the meadow from your sustainable home, with a focus on both people and the environment, the cycle is complete.