Dr. Remmele, what is the current status?
The patented covering material consists of two liquid components A and B, which are carefully homogenized immediately before spraying. Component A consists of rape oil, the gelling agent sodium alginate, the gelling aid calcium sulphate and cellulose fibres as filler. Component B consists of the binder natural rubber, water as solvent, sodium benzoate as preservative, sorbitol as humectant and the plasticizer glycerine. All essential formulation components are "renewable raw materials". Mixed together and sprayed on, the material hardens on the silage surface and quickly ensures an airtight seal. The covering material is applied after the silage has been compacted with a special carrier vehicle or with an attachment on a stationary tractor. When using the silage as a substrate for biogas production, the covering material can be removed with the silage and placed in the fermenter where it is decomposed. The invention was awarded the Innovation Award in Gold by the German Agricultural Society. We are currently looking for industrial partners to put the process into practice.
What is the advantage over conventional cover films?
The advantages of the new covering process are to be seen in the avoidance of plastic waste, in the low susceptibility to wind due to the self-adhesion of the material, in the lower working time required and above all in the increase in occupational safety due to the elimination of the need to cover the silage, especially in the case of snow and ice in winter. A disadvantage is the cost of the sprayable covering material, which is about four times higher than that of plastic films.
What are the specific environmental advantages?
The sprayable covering material made from renewable raw materials conserves fossil resources, contributes to climate protection and helps to avoid macro and micro-plastics in the environment.