PIPS placement opportunity- Stoic Options Ltd.

A remote PIPS opportunity is availabble with Stoic Options Ltd, who are based in York. The company works on a Farm Based Resource System. For more details and contact information keep reading.

Background info

Stoic Options Ltd (SOL) is an advisory business to the water and agriculture industries, providing options and challenge to strategies and sustainable solutions.  In addition to this role, and in partnership with associates over the last two years, the business, led by Jon Brigg (sole owner and director), has developed a system of integrated assets that has the potential to resolve multiple challenges to farm businesses and the wider environment.  This is known as the Farm-Based Resource System, FBRS.

There is much media coverage currently, of the impact of livestock manures and slurries impact on water courses.  This is caused by losses of mobile nutrients when spread on land as fertiliser.  There are also losses to atmosphere which are now known to contribute to poor air quality and act as climate change agents.

Regulation tightening and media/social pressure is also building on a sector which works to small margins but is known to pollute.  The two are antagonistic in that there are few alternative solutions and those that are available are expensive.  And, doing nothing is not an option.

SOL received Innovate UK funding to demonstrate the potential for the FBRS to resolve these issues.  This was achieved by modelling the system commercially and technically with data produced from lab-based analysis, input from technology providers and literature searches.  The consortium demonstrated that using diverse feedstock, a technical solution was both feasible and highly investible.

In brief, manures and slurries are dewatered and dried and used as feedstock to either a gasifier or pyrolyser.  Depending on the technology selected (there are several available commercially) high carbon char and syngas (hydrogen, carbon monoxide and a small amount of methane) are produced.  The char and recovered nutrients (from the dewatering and drying stage) can be blended with other residues to manufacture a recognised, stable, high carbon fertiliser – which has a high value and is carbon restorative in soils.  The syngas, depending upon quality, is used to provide process heat (for feedstock drying) or refined to produce electricity or high value chemical feedstocks (e.g. methanol).

The FBRS therefore has the potential to:

  • Recover nutrient and carbon resources significantly reducing losses to water and atmosphere.
  • Manufacture high value, stable and carbon restorative fertiliser. Improvement of soil health, more efficient use of nutrients by crops and buffer farmers from volatile global fertiliser supply costs.
  • Generate revenues for farmers from what is currently a cost. Potentially remove the need for taxpayer subsidy for food production and rural management.
  • Remove the need for non-compliant practices spreading slurries and manures to land (Farming Rules for Water).
  • Provide high value rural jobs, supporting rural economies.

The associate group is currently at pre-investment stage.  Through consultation, there is a keen interest from farmers and investors alike.  In order to move through to first deployment, there is a need for consolidation of the information and data that has been generated so far.

The project

The proposed project, over a period of placement, is to produce a technical paper, which also considers commercial elements.  The paper will draw in academic referencing and provide both challenge and support to the technical and commercial cases, where appropriate.

The placement will be remote (SOL does not have offices).  Jon and other associates will be available as required to provide support and networks face to face.   Jon is based at the UoY one day a week. 

A key element will be to engage with a wide range of stakeholders and contributors (e.g. technology owners, farmers, technical and commercial modellers). Introductions will be made and facilitated when needed.  This is a real opportunity to broaden personal networks.

The role would suit an applicant who has:

  • Excellent written communication skills – the ability to simplify complex messages without losing technical rigour.
  • A passion to make a difference – to really get under the skin of this sustainable solution.
  • An interest in bioresources / agriculture / renewables technology.
  • And is personable and self-reliant when needed.

Contact information

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the placement further, contact Jon Brigg, Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence, University of York, jb@stoicoptions.co.uk