Slurry cooling

What if we told you, cooling slurry in storage can reduce ammonia emissions by up to 75% and the heat extracted can be used to heat livestock housing? Find out how you can implement slurry cooling.

Back to: Slurry storage

What are the main benefits?

  • Slurry cooling in storage can reduce ammonia emissions by up to 75%, helping to protect the environment and in-line with the 25 Year Environment Plan
  • Your energy costs, and the use of gas and oil, can be reduced; energy extracted from slurry cooling can be used to heat livestock housing 
  • Slurry cooling and slurry acidification both reduce ammonia emissions ‘at source’. This can lead to improved health and performance of the animals
  • Reduced ammonia in barn atmosphere can benefit farm workers 
  • Reduction in odour up to 15%

Reducing ammonia emissions

The UK has legally-binding, international targets to reduce emissions from 2005 levels by 8% by 2020, and by 16% by 2030.

Ammonia (NH3) emitted from livestock manure is not only an odour concern; it is of environmental and human health concern. It also represents financial losses through increased fertiliser cost. Keeping ammonia in organic fertiliser (slurry), locks in nitrogen.

Ammonia in the atmosphere causes acidification of rain (acid rain) and can react with atmospheric sulphur dioxide to form fine particulates (PM10 and PM2.5) which are harmful to health. These particles eventually find their way into the human blood stream. In response to this, the UK government published the Clean Air Strategy in 2019.

How do you meet the requirements of the Clean Air Strategy?

  • Low protein feeding of livestock
  • Low emissions slurry spreading
  • Covering slurry stores
  • Low ammonia emission building types
  • The Best Available Techniques (BAT) in pig farming is, in general, already being applied

Find out more about the Clean Air Strategy

There are several proven options available, such as storage covers, to help you reduce ammonia emissions and comply with forthcoming compliance targets for environmental permitting

Our slurry cooling guide helps you look for practical details on slurry-cooling technology. It covers how the technology works and how to install it. The key points are summarised below, along with a comparison of how cooling systems compare with slurry acidification.

How does slurry cooling work?

Commercial units generally achieve a 30–50% reduction in ammonia emissions from buildings.

Cooling the slurry, in combination with a partly-slatted floor system, gives the best ammonia reduction, at 75%. The cooling circuit is usually installed in or on the floor of under-slat slurry storage.

The BAT document references Danish tests which have shown that ammonia volatilisation is reduced by 5–10% for every degree the slurry temperature is lowered (499, AgroTech 2008). The cooling effect is also influenced to some extent by flooring type, area and pen design.

Reusing the heat requires a heat pump that works on the same principle as refrigerators, making use of small temperature differences that transfer a small amount of heat energy from one place to another.

This is a Best Available Technique because it makes use of both ends of the process – first to reduce emissions by cooling slurry and then to heat water. It qualifies under the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for quarterly payments over 20 years, based on the amount of heat generated.

How is slurry cooling installed?

We recommend that you start with calculating the amount of heat needed, which can then be used to determine the scale of the cooling loop required to supply it.

Cooling systems bring most benefit when installed in a fully integrated unit, incorporating the full pig production cycle.

The low-density polyethylene pipes for the cooling and heating loops are cast in the concrete floors of new builds, with a spacing of 35–40 cm between pipes.

Note, cooling is not effective for large volumes of slurry, so it needs to be installed in housing systems where slurry is removed frequently.

Pipes are connected to a heat-exchanging device (pump or plate) to recover process energy, which might be used for heating other parts of the farm, particularly for farrowing and weaner accommodation.

The heat, in the form of hot water, is normally between 35–50°C. Moving heat in this form over any distance is expensive, which means that heat is better used close to the source.

Return on investment

This estimate appears to take into account some subsidies and low-cost loans but does not take into account RHI payments i.e. ROI may be increased when factoring RHI payments.

How can pig farmers become more energy efficient?

Listen to our podcast with Ben Williams, our Knowledge Transfer Senior Manager, who speaks to three industry experts about some of the work that has been taking place to help farmers become more energy efficient as we move towards net zero.

Find out about the potential for releasing energy from slurry, the scope for improving energy efficiency on farm and how to make the most of renewable energy sources.

Featured guests: 

  • Jon Foot, Head of Environment, AHDB
  • Jon Swain, Senior Consultant, NFU Energy
  • Martin Barker, National Pig Sales Manager, Duynie Feeds

Directory of suppliers and installers




Alternative Heat Ltd

11 Burrenreagh Road Castlewellan, County Down
BT31 9HH
Northern Ireland

02843 770700 


Beechover Court 
Forest Road Colgate
RH12 4SY

01293 851459

Calibrate Energy Ltd

West Ditchburn Farm Alnwick Northumberland NE66 2UE

01665 578638

Earth Source Energy

Unit 6 Silver Birches Business Park Aston Road

Bromsgrove Worcestershire

B60 3EU

0330 223 3300

Ember Energy

1 Fleming Street Darvel Ayrshire


01563 501582

Finn Geotherm Ltd

Wood Farm,

Deopham Road Attleborough


NR17 1AJ

01953 453240

JKN Renewables Ltd

Office Suite 4

The Gables Business Park Belton Road,

Epworth Doncaster


01427 874308

Q-Gen Heat Pumps Ltd

St Pegs Mill,

Thornhills Beck Lane Brighouse

West Yorkshire


01484 475808

Yorkshire Renewable  Energy Systems

Evans Business Centre Monckton Road Wakefield

West Yorkshire


07766 555550






Alto Energy Ltd

Hexagon House, Avenue 4 Station Lane, Witney Oxfordshire

OX28 4BN

01993 220699

Dimplex UK Ltd

Millbrook House, Grange Drive, Hedge End


S030 2DF

0844 8793588


Kensa Heat Pumps

Mount Wellington Chacewater



01872 862140



A/S Jylland, Rømersvej 30 7430 Ikas


+45 96277070

Pellon Group

Oy Yrittäjäntie 10 62375 Ylihärmä Finland

+358 6 4837 555

Star Renewable Energy Thornliebank Industrial Estate Nitshill Road


G46 8JW

0141 6387916

Vaillant Group Ltd Nottingham Road Belper

DE56 1JT

01733 596109

Discover more about slurry

Cooling pig slurry to reduce gaseous emissions guide

AHDB Pork – Introduction to slurry cooling webinar

GrowSave: Helping farmers and growers both save energy