The University of Aberdeen has joined forces with one of Scotland’s largest agricultural cooperatives in a new venture that could help farmers produce their own green energy on a mass scale.
The University’s Business and Engineering Schools have entered into a knowledge transfer partnership with ANM Group, which will see the creation of a new renewable energy consultancy division to advise farmers and other enterprises on sustainable energy solutions.
It’s funded by a UK Government grant valued at around £250,000 and will last two years. It will explore the potential for delivering a range of agricultural technology solutions to the market. This could include the development of a micro wind turbine that can be easily erected on existing farmland or buildings, but which is powerful enough to generate day-to-day electricity and contribute to the national grid.
The University opened its Centre for Energy Transition in May this year and this latest agreement is part of its commitment to its role as a research and innovation leader in the Scottish renewables industry.
Adam Smith, director of resources at the Business School, said: “This partnership has the potential to position ANM Group as a national provider of renewable energy solutions, with farmers and other agricultural businesses able to contribute on a much larger scale to Scotland’s sustainable energy supply than was previously possible.
“Our strategy to partner with industry has been key to our success. We have watched other UK business schools’ student numbers decline due to the impact of Brexit and the pandemic whilst we doubled in size over the last five years. We’re delighted that our partnership strategy and expertise in the sector has been recognised by the Group and that we can play such a hands-on role in helping the agricultural industry and individual farmers – regardless of acreage – play a part in Scotland’s clean, green energy future.”
The ANM Group was founded in 1872 and is one of the most dynamic, progressive and forward-thinking businesses serving the UK farming, commercial and industrial sectors. It has led to the development of modern auctions centres via electronic and video auctions.
Grant Rogerson, chief executive of ANM Group, said: “As a cooperative, we value working with the University of Aberdeen and by entering this partnership, ANM Group can gain expertise and technology to help the agricultural sector continue its journey to achieve net-zero.
“This joint venture has the capability to position ANM as a leading provider of sustainable solutions within the farming community. We hope to provide invaluable advice and knowledge to our members and customers which will set us ahead as we celebrate our 150th anniversary in 2022. As a group we strive to protect the future of our sector and engage with younger generations, therefore this project has landed at a key time as we look towards the future of our industry.”
Dr Alireza Maheri, the School of Engineering’s Champion in Energy Transition, said: “This partnership provides us with an excellent opportunity to expand the impact of our research in distributed hybrid renewable energy systems and the ANM Group to play its role in meeting Scotland’s net-zero targets through a fair energy transition.”
A university graduate will work full time onsite at ANM Group’s Thainstone base in Aberdeenshire from early this year. Dependent on trials, the project could see micro turbines go into production as early as 2023.