Valio’s hackathon takes up the climate challenge of milk production – Enter the competition now

Roughly 2.5 percent of Finland’s greenhouse gas emissions derive from milk production (source: Statistics Finland 2016).  Valio is now inviting specialist teams from around the world to enter a hackathon competition aiming to find solutions for the reduction and utilisation of the methane produced by cows, as well as accelerating methane transformation to carbon dioxide.

The competition, named the “Milk farm methane hack”, tasks the participants with developing a future milk farm that is able to make use of methane gas to generate new business opportunities while reducing its environmental impact. The ideas can be about reducing methane output per cow, accelerating methan transformation to carbon dioxide, capturing methane or utilising it locally, near the farms. Sign-up is currently underway and will continue until 17 January. The two-day hackathon will be held in February 2018. In addition to cash prizes, the best teams will get the opportunity to refine their concept in cooperation with Valio.

Hackathons are events in which teams representing different fields gather together, usually for a day or two, to solve a pre-determined task. The judges of the competition include experts from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Tekes, in addition to representatives of Valio. Valio organises the hackathon together with Ultrahack.

Increasing climate and resource efficiency at the future dairy farm

Curbing climate change is a shared challenge. Companies play an important role in finding solutions to this. “The methane production of Finnish dairy farms has declined by nearly 40 percent over the past 25 years, mainly due to animal breeding. As a significant milk producer Valio is responsible for continuously pursuing solutions that would allow us to reduce and use the methane gas generated as efficiently as possible. The new ideas yielded by the competition will benefit the entire agricultural sector,” says Mika Koskinen, Executive Vice President at Valio.

“In terms of the participants, we are looking for teams with the ability to come up with creative ideas and with multi-disciplinary know-how for solving the methane challenge. We welcome everyone – from researchers to students and representatives of the business sector. We’re hoping to attract people from diverse backgrounds and with diverse skills in fields ranging from technology to agriculture and service design,” says Virpi Jonson, Valio’s innovation manager in charge of the competition.

Competition details and further information for teams: Milk Farm Methane Hack

The competition is suitable for teams with expertise in the following areas:

  • Gas technology and modelling

  • Measurement and sensor technology

  • IoT

  • Barn building

  • Biogas processing

  • Biomaterials

  • Visual modelling or process modelling

  • Service design

  • System analytics