THE live export industry's static dehumidification trial, run by LiveCorp at Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, has been completed and the organisation is now analysing the data to determine whether the technology has commercial potential as a heat stress mitigation tool for the industry.
The Kuwait Livestock Transport and Trading (KLTT) vessel Al Messilah was moored at Dubai for a week while dehumidification units set up on the wharf pumped modified air into several decks to test the impact on temperature and humidity.
LiveCorp chief executive officer Sam Brown said a team of experts had been involved in the trial, to ensure the capture of reliable data.
"Dehumidified air was piped into the vessel at different rates over several days, with the atmosphere on the decks allowed to come back to the outside conditions in between each test," Mr Brown said.
"Running the trial in the Middle East in summer aimed to provide the biggest test of the technology, with a variety of automated loggers measuring temperature and humidity, as well as the combined, all-important wet bulb temperature.
"Specialists in thermodynamics, technology providers and other experts in research design made sure all the variables were taken into account and the best, practical trial methodologies applied."
Mr Brown said dehumidification units were already commonly used in industries, such as deep mining and have even modified the air around a lighthouse to allow a fresh coat of paint to dry.
However, Mr Brown said a livestock vessel was a unique environment and there was no guarantee of success.
"It has taken more than 12 months to get to this stage, after getting exporters around the table to discuss exactly what problem we needed to solve and then putting out a global call for agtech start-ups and innovators in other industries to put forward solutions," Mr Brown said.
"We are confident in the rigour of our process and even if we don't get the answer we're hoping for, the analysis being done will guide further research on how best to manage heat stress on livestock vessels.
"Australia plays a valuable role in supporting food security in the Middle East, as well as providing an important market for sheep producers in Western Australia.
"LiveCorp has been conducting research into heat stress and more generally animal welfare, for 20 years.
"This latest project will add to the wealth of knowledge and continue to improve outcomes on livestock export voyages."
The trial has been funded through an Australian government grant of $2.2 million.