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Lincoln University has partnered with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to build New Zealand’s first Energy Demonstration Farm, with the aim to find sustainable energy solutions to meet the Government’s carbon reduction requirements.

Lincoln University has partnered with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to build New Zealand’s first Energy Demonstration Farm, with the aim to find sustainable energy solutions to meet the Government’s carbon reduction requirements.

The Energy Demonstration Farm is designed to be fossil fuel free and feature solar and wind power, bio-fuel, and energy storage solutions while showcasing the range of technology available and how it can be applied, as well as providing data for research and innovation.


It will be unique in its set-up and a world-first in its scale and scope.


MPI Acting Director Investment Portfolio, Cheyne Gillooly, says the Energy Demonstration Farm has the potential for farmers to explore the technology and test it before they make an investment.


“Farming is a high tech, high capital business and New Zealand farmers have always been at the forefront of innovative farming techniques. We’re excited to support the Energy Demonstration Farm and help give farmers an opportunity to test the technology beforehand.”


The six-hectare farm site on which it will be constructed is near the Lincoln University Dairy Farm, and the main campus.

  • the energy farm will demonstrate the transition to high-value sustainable food: e.g. Plant proteins that have low environmental impact, strong consumer acceptance and high value.
  • on-farm effluent treatment will be a source for biofuel and output of clean water.
  • it will connect energy production and food production to create a sustainable food network and to demonstrate its feasibility.
  • it will have a carbon-neutral or positive greenhouse with the latest light technology.
  • livestock will provide some of the nutrients using mobile chicken housing
  • it will have carbon-neutral spray dryers as a best in class example to leading (carbon-emitting) industries in Aotearoa New Zealand that currently mainly use coal or biomass to power their spray dryers.
  • there will collaboration with national and international education and research institutes which share Lincoln University’s goals objectives and values.

Leading the project are Dr Wim de Koning and Dr Jeff Heyl of Lincoln University. “Transitioning to sustainable energy in the agri-food sector is a necessity,” says Dr de Koning.


“The Government’s zero carbon legislation has provided a time-frame of 30 years for completion of this transition.


“To meet the Government goal of 100% renewable energy by 2035, we need to start making the first major steps with urgency.


Dr de Koning said the farm would show the diverse range of sustainable energy production technology currently available, from fossil fuel to circular food production systems.


“It’s leading transformation through demonstration - to facilitate sustainable, feasible and bankable solutions.”


“The small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the primary industries need a pre-investment proof of concept.”


“They don’t have the capacity to make mistakes by investing in the wrong technology. At the Energy Demonstration Farm we can explore alternatives, not all of which may be successful. We can provide that proof so the right choices are made.”