Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Ruralnet Futures & Aether successfully tender for Worcestershire CC contract

| November 2nd, 2011 | No Comments »

Ruralnet Futures can announce a partnership agreement with air quality and climate change consultants Aether. Having recently been successful in jointly securing a contract with Worcestershire County Council to deliver the EU approved carbon accounting software ECORegion, both organisations look forward to working with Worcestershire County Council and their partners to help address their climate change commitments.

Ruralnet Futures are the UK partner for the ECORegion software, whilst Aether bring a wealth of expertise with regards to emission inventories, environmental data systems and air quality assessments – creating a powerful partnership. ECORegion is a widely deployed solution for efficient energy and greenhouse gas balancing for cities and municipalities. The European Commission said of the tool “We acknowledge that there is a high analogy and good convergence between the ECORegion and the Covenant [of Mayors]. We are also pleased to note that a specific output of the ECOregion tool has been developed, which can be used to fill in the Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) template….Similarly, the Covenant of Mayors will inform about the outstanding position of the ECORegion tool” – European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy

 

 

 

A key project deliverable is to deliver sophisticated scenario modelling functionality, enabling Worcestershire to establish what impact policy decisions will have on carbon emissions in future years. If you would like to learn more about the project please contact us.

 

 


 

 



First Efficient 20 pilots identify quick fuel savings

| October 24th, 2011 | No Comments »

The Efficient 20 programme has just completed  its first UK tests to identify fuel savings in farming. The EU wide project has nearly 300 pliots running througout 10 countries, with nearly 25 based in the UK. Firestone, the agricultural division of Bridgestone Tyres are official partners to the project and in conjuction with them Ruralnet Futures conducted the first UK tests in Ludlow, Shropshire. Through our links with various rural  hubs we contacted a local organic farmer, John Lewis. For the test we used an 8000 hour John Deere 6910 tractor coupled with a five-furrow Dowdeswell plough. The Efficient 20 programme supplied Mr Lewis with an accurate fuel flow meter and the tests were completed over several 30-minute ploughing sessions. For the first of the 30 minute tests the tyres were overinflated to 23 psi all round and for the second 30-minute test they were deflated to 14psi on the front axel and 17psi on the rears. This immediately resulted in a 5% saving in fuel consumption. For the next test we replaced Mr Lewis’s tyres with a larger tyres, thus providing a wider footprint and reduced soil compaction. Through a combination of applying the correct tyre pressure and by selecting a larger tyre size, this ultimately led to a reduction of a further 30% in fuel consumption. Applying these simple measures and using recent red diesel prices of around 70ppl, could easily lead to over £50 savings per day per farmer for 10 hours ploughing activity.

Test Results:

Tyre pressure test

Further articles relating to to the Efficient 20 Programme:

Eco driving course aims to slash fuel bills by 20%

Video – make fuel savings through using appropriate tyre pressure

Efficient 20 programme fuels Royal Interest

Efficient 20 Programme website

If you like to learn more about this project please contact the Ruralnet Futures team here

 

 

 

 

Efficient20 Fuels Royal Interest

| July 26th, 2011 | No Comments »

HRH the Princess Royal

Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne today met farmers participating in the Efficient20 fuel-saving project when she visited the Staffordshire Rural Hub this afternoon.

300 farmers from across 9 European countries are taking part in the EU funded project to monitor their tractor fuel consumption and implement fuel saving techniques to reduce both CO2 emissions and running costs.

Her Royal Highness met with members of the Hub along with Rob Mannion, Managing Director of Ruralnet Futures and Bryce MacKellar of Home Farm, Chartley, Staffordshire who, using fuel measuring equipment on his tractors, is recording his fuel usage for different types of arable work. The project offers farmers training in eco-driving, and advice on how to reduce fuel consumption through improved tractor maintenance, correct implement set-up and choosing the optimal power and speed for the job.

Co-ordinating the project in the UK, Ruralnet Futures is working with Staffordshire, Shropshire and Herefordshire Rural Hubs running farmers’ pilot groups in the three counties, with farmers in Warwickshire and Oxfordshire also taking part.

Rob Mannion, commented “With red diesel prices averaging nearly 65p/litre in June1, up 25% in the last twelve months, reducing fuel usage has become not just an environmental goal for farmers but a key component in lowering input costs and improving the bottom line”.

Ruralnet Futures is also working with Harper Adams University College on developing eco-tractor-driving training and bringing some of their specialist expertise in precision farming to the project. Tyre manufacture Firestone is also involved, having just launched the world’s first agricultural tyre pressure calculator for a smartphone, helping farmers to match their tyre pressures with the work they are doing.

Firestone become Associate Members of the Efficient 20 Programme

| June 3rd, 2011 | No Comments »

We are delighted to announce Firestone have become an Associate Member of the Efficient 20 programme. The Efficient 20 project is financed by Intelligent Energy Europe and Ruralnet Futures are leading all UK activity. It aims to identify methods to reduce fuel consumption in agricultural practices. Over 300 farms in 10 countries in Europe are about to start various pilots all aimed at improving fuel efficiency over the next two years.  By ensuring you are using the appropriate tyre pressure can lead to both environmental and financial benefits for farmers including reduced soil compaction, a drastic increase in the life of the tyres and a reduction in the fuel consumption.

Firestone are the agricultural division of Bridgestone tyres, the largest tyre manufacturer in the world and we look forward to working closely with them as the project develops to learn more with regards to fuel efficient farming. We recently announced the launch of the worlds first agricultural tyre pressure calculator for a smartphone (download here) which will be used as the basis of the research and this is yet another exciting development in our partnership.

Any organisations interested in becoming Associate Members to the programme can contact us to learn more.

ECORegion – the market leader software for carbon accounting of cities arrives in the UK

| February 14th, 2011 | No Comments »

ECORegion (by ECOSPEED Ltd.) is an online-software for carbon accounting in cities and communities. It is the only software which is officially recognised by the EU Commission. Over 1000 cities in 8 European countries are using this software. Here are some of the largest communities that are using ECORegion as their standard:

-       German state North Rhine-Westphalia (428 cities)

-       Swiss Cantons (26 cantons)

-       Covenant of Mayors Europe (120 cities)

-       European Energy Award Germany (100 cities)

-       European Energy Award Switzerland (50 cities)

-       Climate alliance Germany (150 cities)

-       Climate alliance Italy (30 cities)

-       Climate alliance Luxemburg (12 cities)

Ruralnet Futures is the UK-Partner of ECOSPEED Ltd. The first pilot  for ECORegion in UK is with Northumberland County Council and Ruralnet Futures will be managing the project which will be completed by the end of March 2011.

For further information please contact:

Rob Mannion at: robmannion@ruralnetfutures.co.uk

T: +44 (0)843 357 1618

New website announcing Bridgestone Tyres retread plans for 2011

| December 21st, 2010 | No Comments »

The range of Bridgestone truck tyres is undergoing a complete overhaul during the coming twelve months with brand names and tyre specifications changing, new ranges being introduced and a general streamlining and improvement of the product offer. This is partly due to Bridgestone’s acquisition of Bandag; Europe’s leading retread organisation and the introduction of more environmentally friendly tyres under the Ecopia name.

The brief was to implement a cost effective method to keep Bridgestone’s target audience fully informed and continuously updated on the changes as and when they occur. With a broad audience including their own staff, tyre dealers and fleet customers buying direct, the use of conventional sales literature was deemed inappropriate as any brochures would become out of date almost as soon as they were printed.

We worked closely in conjunction Fitzgerald Marshall-Hardy Ltd, a specialised design and marketing agency based in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. The solution was immediate in its message, easy to update and very cost effective, by using a combination of printed and electronic communication.

As part of Fitzgerald Marshall-Hardy’s overall solution, it was recommended that Ruralnet Futures develop a new website specifically to support the retread business, which would become the source for all product detail and brand changes; as this can be updated by the client with minimal cost as and when necessary. This was supplemented with a campaign of E-Shots to all Bridgestone customers (tyre dealers and fleet end users) alerting and directing them to the new website.

And finally printed Newsmailers to go out on a regular basis to alert customers, direct them to the website and carry news stories on Bridgestone product developments.

Steve Fitzgerald, a Director at Fitzgerald Marshall-Hardy said of the project “As some of these solutions needed specialists in the chosen fields we put together a team of organisations who we knew could deliver the services to the standard we required with FM-H acting as project managers whilst the solutions were implemented”

The new website can be seen here

200 Farms signed-up to save fuel

| December 13th, 2010 | No Comments »

Farmers from across the nine European countries participating in the Efficient20 project are looking forward to see their tractors’ fuel consumption fall in 2011.

Since the project’s launch in July, Ruralnet Futures and other Efficient20 project partners have been busy recruiting pilot groups of farmers and foresters to take part in implementing a variety of fuel saving measures that should see them making a 20% saving in diesel usage by 2013.

At a project meeting last week in Slovenia, French partners AILE (Association of Local Initiatives for Energy & Environment) who are coordinating pilot group recruitment reported that 26 pilot groups, comprising 200 farms, were now up and running.  Recruitment will continue into the New Year with the hope of establishing 30 pilot groups.  In the UK we are working with farmers in Staffordshire and Shropshire and are looking to set up our third pilot group in Warwickshire.

Austrian partners, the Francisco Josephinium Research Institute, presented a handbook of fuel saving measures which will form the core technical input to pilot group training sessions.  Compiled from over twenty years of research by agricultural institutes into tractor fuel efficiency coupled with extensive experience of delivering hands-on farmer training, the handbook covers everything from the effects of tractor maintenance and driver behaviour to operation specific factors such as correct selection of tyre pressures and optimal working depth for cultivation.

As we move into 2011, farmers will begin recording their fuel consumption for a variety of activities to identify where their greatest potential for fuel saving lies. Focused training and ongoing measurement will then help farmers chart their progress towards their 20% reduction target. With farmers reporting diesel prices topping 60p/litre in some areas of the UK – a staggering 30% rise on November prices – such savings can’t come quickly enough!

Calling all farmers……

| August 18th, 2010 | No Comments »

Would you like to save up to £1,000 per year on your fuel bills?  Ruralnet Futures are looking for farmers to take part in a three year European funded project called Efficient 20 aimed at reducing agricultural fuel usage by 20%.

Training and advice in ways to lower your tractor fuel consumption will be available, covering areas such as:

  • ensuring engines are well maintained
  • selecting correct tyre pressures and equipment settings
  • matching the size of tractor to the type of work and machinery being used
  • adopting eco-driving techniques

You will receive support in implementing these measures and will need to commit to recording your fuel consumption throughout the project to help chart your progress.

Participating farms need to have a least one tractor, use at least 3,000 litres of fuel per year and be willing to attend four briefing/training events in either Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Cumbria or Northumberland.

To find out more, contact efficient20@ruralnetfutures.co.uk

WordPress integrated with Google Docs to support Master Gardeners programme

| July 19th, 2010 | No Comments »

The latest addition to our portfolio is the website supporting the Master Gardener project. The project is being co-ordinated by Garden Organic in Warwickshire and sponsored by the Big Lottery Fund to encourage people to grow their own food. There are currently four Local Authorities on board and the aim is to recruit as many Master Gardeners as possible, who in turn help teach and nurture new interest in growing food throughout their community. The website is built in the WordPress Multi User Content Management System and is integrated with Google Docs via a login from the homepage, allowing members to access shared files and document progress which can then be tracked by the project team. To learn more about the programme, take a look at the website or if you are interested in finding out how a website like this could benefit your organisation or project, then contact us

Ruralnet Futures recognised as West Midlands ICT Cluster "rising stars"

| June 10th, 2010 | No Comments »

We are excited to have been identified by the West Midlands ICT Cluster initiative as “rising stars” in the region. The recognition seeks to identify young, innovative technology based companies who have enjoyed recent successes.  Having secured two major European funded opportunities, delivering WordPress based solutions across multiple countries,  the ICT Cluster became aware of our work and asked if we would like to feature in their newsletter