Reducing Pollution Resulting from Agricultural Ammonia Emissions in the Cattle Sector

Key Features

Organisations can apply for a share of £1 million, inclusive of VAT. This will be to develop products or services that reduce the volume of harmful pollutants entering the atmosphere as a result of agricultural practices.

Programme:     Welsh Government

Award:     Share of up to £1 million

Opens: 2nd Nov 2023

Closes: 5th Jan 2024

! This scheme is now closed


Organisations can apply for a share of £1 million, inclusive of VAT. This will be to develop products or services that reduce the volume of harmful pollutants entering the atmosphere as a result of agricultural practices.


This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by Welsh Government.

The aim of this competition is to develop products or services that can help reduce harmful pollutants in the atmosphere resulting from agricultural practices that generate ammonia, including from anaerobic digestion.

What is ammonia (NH3) and why is it an issue?

Atmospheric ammonia is a primary pollutant emitted by agricultural activities (93% in Wales) and, to a lesser extent, by transport and industry. Most of the ammonia comes from the natural breakdown of manure, dead plants and animals. Agricultural soils in the UK contain little plant-available nitrogen, hence the need for supplementary nitrogen fertilisers and organic manures. Not all the nitrogen is taken up by plants. Large amounts of it (around 50%) are lost to the environment as a pollutant. When NH3 reacts with the atmosphere and is breathed in, it damages the respiratory and cardiovascular systems in people and animals. When NH3 falls on the landscape, it can acidify soils and freshwaters, over-fertilising natural plant communities. The percentage of Welsh land where ammonia concentrations exceed critical levels (a way of measuring the concentration of ammonia in the air) has grown by 12% in the past 10 years. It means that 69% of Welsh land now doesn’t allow lichens and ancient woodlands to exist healthily.

Ammonia emissions are subject to international and national legal obligations and targets to reduce emissions and regional transboundary pollution. Since 2005, NH3 emissions in Wales have grown by 8%. The trend is for the emissions to keep increasing.  The cattle industry in Wales is responsible for about 70% of agricultural ammonia emissions (Clean Air Plan for Wales, 2020) and about 45% is directly from the dairy sector.


This is a Phase 2 competition aimed at demonstration, therefore applicants are required to have an existing working prototype of their technology which is in operation on preferably more than 1 farm or agricultural business in Wales. Applicants will also need to demonstrate that their technology takes into account potential pollution swapping and cost – effectiveness for farmers.

Your solution must either prevent emissions of ammonia, extract it from the air or reduce deposition onto sensitive habitats. This can include demonstrating, piloting, testing and validation of new, emerging or improved products, processes or services in relevant environments. The primary objective is to validate ammonia emissions reductions in products, processes or services that are near-to-market.

Your Phase 2 project must:

  • Assemble a robust evidence pack that demonstrates ammonia emissions reductions. For example, the proposed technology will demonstrate a reduction of ammonia emissions by 20% for the duration of the project/experiment at the farm level. Evidence packs are to be of a standard suitable for consideration by the UK Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas inventories requirements.
  • Include sufficient capability and capacity to assemble the testing and validation evidence. Ideally, project applications will include scientific/academic subcontractors who have the required experience and facilities to undertake necessary site and laboratory testing and evaluation.
  • Demonstrate that the technology takes into account potential pollution swapping. Pollution swapping should be investigated, described and mitigated. Please include measurable effects on Greenhouse Gas such as carbon and methane emissions, as well as phosphorous.
  • Evaluate cost – effectiveness for farmers for the implementation of the proposed technology. The costs to farmers and government should be proportionate to the benefit. In other words, if it reduces emissions only marginally it shouldn’t be very expensive. The solution should show significant benefits for farmers. This competition is seeking innovations that would be financially self-sustaining, i.e. the direct on-farm benefit to the farmer is greater than the costs. It will be important for the applicants to set out the expected on-farm benefits as part of their commercialisation road map.
  • List side effects and their mitigation. Account for potential disadvantages of the proposed technology implementation in Wales. For example, floating slurry storage covers tend to be blown to the side due to strong winds in some areas. Some flowing covers are impractical to rearrange back as they cover deep slurry lagoons. This dramatically reduces the measure’s effectiveness.
  • Comply with current Welsh and UK legislation, particularly with The Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) Regulations 2021.
  • Work closely with potential users and customers to collect and record their feedback.

A maximum budget of £1,000,000 (inclusive of VAT) is available to support up to 5 Phase 2 demonstration projects. Successful applicants will be awarded R&D contracts to deliver:

Phase 2: Demonstration and Evaluation – This should result in a real-world demonstrator, tested in conjunction with end users. Phase 2 involves rigorous field testing for up to 12 months inclusive of final reporting and projects must facilitate the assessment of effectiveness in reducing ammonia emissions.

It is the intention that the findings of this challenge will be made available to experts from Defra, NRW, EA and contractors involved in UK and EU inventories in order to support future access to UK inventories and increase opportunities for future implementation.

In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. The contract is completed at the end of Phase 2, and the successful organisation is expected to pursue wide marketing of their solution. Any adoption and implementation of a solution from this competition would be subject of a separate, possible competitive, procurement exercise. This competition does not cover the purchase of any solution although we may choose to investigate and explore innovative procurement routes as part of this challenge.

All co-funding is welcome, but the work described must be wholly completed and reported on within the allowed project duration.

The total funding available for the competition can change. The funders have the right to:

  • adjust the provisional funding allocations between the phases
  • apply a ‘portfolio’ approach


We will not fund projects that:

  • Focus on tackling pollutants other than ammonia. Your project’s primary focus should be ammonia reduction in the cattle sector in Wales.
  • Don’t intend to demonstrate on a Welsh site
  • Generate more harmful pollutants than are removed.
  • Result in a significant negative overall environmental impact.
  • Duplicate other UK government or EU funded initiatives which you have already been funded for. If your project has been part of Defra’s or DAERA’s Phase 1 agricultural SBRIs, you are still eligible to apply for this Phase 2 SBRI.
  • Are covered by existing commercial agreements to deliver the proposed solutions.
  • Duplicate existing innovation that is already part of UK agricultural inventories.
  • Fall under existing ammonia reduction measures in the UK agricultural inventories without substantial improved differentiation.

Funding Costs

A maximum budget of £1,000,000 (inclusive of VAT) is available to support up to 5 Phase 2 demonstration projects.

Interested in applying for this competition?

Book an appointment to speak to one of our advisors to discuss your eligibility to apply for this Grant Funding opportunity.