Webinar 15: Showcasing Europe’s most advanced Irish owned biorefinery

ClonBio Group Ltd: A snapshot of an Irish led company at the centre of the European bioeconomy: origins, path taken so far and future developments. ClonBio was founded in 2008, was operating a major biorefinery in Hungary by 2010 and has gone on to become Europe’s most dynamic bioeconomy investor.

Registration Details
You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
When: Jan 27, 2021 09:30 AM Dublin
Register in advance for this webinar:
https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_7kHECUOjQjKKFsWuf7cPLA
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Webinar Speaker

James Cogan
ClonBio Group Ltd

James is an industry and policy analyst at ClonBio Group Ltd.  He expertise is on EU climate, innovation and economic development policy. He is currently working to support the introduction of climate friendly E10 petrol in Ireland. He is a member of the Private Sector Mechanism of the UN Committee on Food Security. He represented the world Climate Ethanol Alliance as partner to the UNFCCC at COP24 in Katowice in 2018 and COP25 in Madrid in 2019. He has worked for the European Commission and its partners on innovation finance and innovation project development.

Panellist
Seán Finan
CEO IrBEA (Webinar Chair)

Press Release: IrBEA meets Minister Ryan to set out the bioenergy priorities for 2021

For Immediate Release
20/01/2021

IrBEA meets Minister Ryan to set out the bioenergy priorities for 2021

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) met with Minister for Transport, Environment, Climate and Communication Networks, Eamon Ryan T.D. in recent days. The IrBEA representatives outlined the current work programme of the Association and priorities for 2021. At the meeting, Minister Ryan reaffirmed the Governments ambition to decarbonise the Irish Energy system by reducing emissions by 7% per annum surpassing EU targets.

Paddy Phelan, CEO of the Three Counties Energy Agency and President of IrBEA said “IrBEA members are identified as key to providing sustainable solutions to deliver this ambitious 7% target. The role of Bioenergy is clear in reducing emissions in agriculture, electricity, heat and transport. Bioenergy also supports rural development, rural enterprise and jobs and provides clean energy through local supply chains. Land use planning is crucial in the development of indigenous sustainable bioenergy resources from the existing forestry estate and opportunities for other measures such as agroforestry, energy crops and biogas to reduce emissions across the energy sectors”.

The impact of delays in the forestry licensing system was highlighted during the meeting. Timber, Energy and the growth of the Bioeconomy are all key deliverables of a thriving Forest sector.

Maurice Ryan, Director at Greenbelt and IrBEA Vice President said “the continuing delays in licensing from the Forest Service is severely impacting the forest sector. Forestry has huge potential and a very important role to play in supporting the agriculture industry in reducing our emissions. Forestry delivers timber, energy and for the bioeconomy. Forestry can promote biodiversity and land use improvement. These are mutually important topics and need to be part of future discussions.”

The failure to achieve 2020 renewable energy targets was acknowledgement at the meeting. It was noted that investing the 50 million euro fine paid by the Irish taxpayer for not achieving Renewable Heat target since 2010 would have been better invested over the years in Renewable Heat supports which promoted sustainable local biomass supply chains for supply of renewable fuel.

Seán Finan CEO of IrBEA said “Growth in Bioenergy needs to be recognised as one of the key climate actions to deliver sustainable clean energy for heat, transport and electricity that compliments jobs and enterprise through local value chains replacing imported fossil fuels.  Lack of supports historically for Bioenergy has resulted in failed renewable energy target delivery in Ireland.  In IrBEA, we will work with Minister Ryan, his department and SEAI to assist in the delivery of the challenging renewable energy targets for 2030 and always highlight the key role that Bioenergy has in this regard. Bioenergy has many socio-economic benefits locally and regionally which justify the need to invest in the required supports for Biomass, Biogas and Biofuels instead of buying the Renewable Energy credits from other EU members states”.

Paddy Phelan IrBEA President concluded “I was encouraged by the commitment from the Minister to the Climate Targets for 2030 and highlighting the role IrBEA members have in decarbonising the heat, electricity and transport sector in Ireland through increased use of Bioenergy including Biomass, Biogas and Biofuels. Lack of supports historically in heat and transport resulted in failed renewable heat target delivery in 2020.  The revised EU Emissions targets of 55% reduction by 2030 is key and IrBEA will be collaborating with the Minister, his Department and the SEAI in the development of the revised National Climate Action Plan in 2021.”

Ends

For Further information please contact Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 087-4146480

Notes to Editors:
The main items discussed at the meeting included:

  • SSRH: Need for full roll out of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) in 2021 now that project inspections and payments have commenced by SEAI in late 2020.
  • Biomethane Support Scheme: Potential for a support scheme for Biomethane injection was discussed with the Minister but no positive indication was given by the Minister whether there would be a support or not in the future. The Minister cited concerns regarding biodiversity, potential increased use of chemical fertilizer and further intensification of agriculture associated with a medium to large scale biomethane industry. IrBEA highlighted that our policy paper “Mobilising an Irish Biogas Industry with Policy and Action” (Reference[1]) developed jointly with our partners Industry partners Cré addresses Minister Ryan’s concerns.
  • Farm scale Biogas: IrBEA briefed the Minister on the work of the Association through our Department of Agriculture funded European Innovation Partnership project to demonstrate the potential for small scale farm based Anaerobic Digestion plants on Irish farms.
  • Dry Wood Fuels: The campaign by IrBEA for the introduction of regulation of the moisture content of firewood for sale to address air emissions issues was positively received by the Minister.
  • Heat Plan: The development of a Heat Plan for Ireland through Renewable Energy Ireland which IrBEA is a member of was highlighted. The role of bioenergy to decarbonise heat at all temperature ranges and across all sectors was emphasised. The example of Danone Milk Powder Plant in Wexford was cited as a great example of local woodchip supply chains meeting climate targets and for its achievement in being certification as the first carbon neutral baby formula plant in the world using local wood fuel biomass. (Reference [2])
  • Transport Plan: IrBEA outlined its proposal to develop a plan for decarbonisation of the transport sector which will be ready for publication in Q2 2021.
  • Forest Sector: The impact of delays in the forestry licensing system and impact was highlighted.

References:

  1. https://www.irbea.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/IrBEA-Cre-Biogas-Policy-Paper-Final_1.pdf
  2. https://www.danone.com/stories/articles-list/danone-wexford-becoming-the-first-carbon-neutral-baby-formula-plant-in-the-world.html

IrBEA Launched INTERREG NW Europe funded THREE C Project on 20th October 2020

The Irish Bioenergy Association launched the THREE C project to the Irish stakeholders as part of the Bioeconomy Ireland Week 2020. With over 100 registered for the webinar, attendees were given an introduction to the bioeconomy sector and its potential here in Ireland. This was followed by an overview of the THREE C workplan and the type of biochar based products and services that are being considered as part of the project. Attendees also heard from Welsh neighbours and THREE C project partners about their involvement in the project and plans at a farm level. Pioneering biochar product development was the topic of the final presentation and this was followed by a question and answers session and panel discussion.

If you were unable to attend you can view the live recording here  and presentations here

If you wish to find out more or to get involved in the project, please contact stephenmccormack@irbea.org

PRESS RELEASE: IrBEA outlines Bioenergy priorities ahead of the Budget

For Immediate Release:
09/10/2020

Budget 2021 is expected to be a watershed budget in terms of driving towards 2030 and 2050 climate actions. Government support for Irish bioenergy industry through dedicated support and development measures will greatly assist in meeting Irelands targets. The bioenergy sectors of biomass, biogas, biofuels, energy crops and wood fuels are all part of the bioeconomy and offer considerable potential and opportunity to drive the economic, jobs and growth agenda in rural areas.

Seán Finan, Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) CEO said “The industry in Ireland is waiting for its full potential to be realised by the Government and the budget presents the Government with an opportunity to announced measures and supports which will help to mobilise our industry across the different sectors. There is significant potential for bioenergy to contribute to renewable heat, transport and electricity targets, provide opportunities to farmers through farm diversification and development of alternative enterprises, development of rural jobs and addressing the climate changes and emissions challenges faced by the country.”

Over the last few weeks, IrBEA as the voice of the Irish bioenergy industry and working towards a sustainable energy future, has lobbied in advance of the budget on the issues impacting our members in the bioenergy sector. IrBEA is calling for a mixture of supports, policy announcements and practical issues to be addressed in the Budget and Finance Act which are impacting our industry and members.

Finan continued “Bioenergy is a thriving industry across Europe, and one that Ireland needs to fully embrace. In challenging times it is vital to exploit all proven opportunities to tackle climate change, renew and expand well paid and secure employment and enable security of energy supply.”

Despite the fact that Ireland has a natural advantage in producing bioenergy due to our mild climate and fertile land, out of 28 member states Ireland is 27th in terms of its use of renewable heat. We have a unique opportunity to build a significant industry with multiple benefits. Ireland currently derives 4% of its energy from bioenergy, this needs to rise to 15% by 2030 with further deployment beyond to meet Paris Agreement targets, the potential for economic recovery through quadrupling our bioenergy industry is a remarkable opportunity.

Finan concluded “While our focus is on using bioenergy in the transition away from fossil fuels, we acknowledge that building sustainable, economic and social recovery we should also embrace related renewable technologies as well achieving the development of sustainable materials and the protection of our ecosystems. Essentially we need to marshal a wide range of technologies and renewable fuels to decarbonise the energy sector.”

ENDS.

For Further Information Contact: Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 087 4146480

Notes to Editors:

Summary of the Bioenergy budget measures include:

  • Budget provision for widespread roll out of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) in 2021 and rapid resolution of implementation issues with the scheme. These issues are severely impacting on bioenergy’s potential to contribute to national renewable heat and greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

 

  • Additional dedicated resources to be assigned to the SEAI to assist with the efficient administration and implementation of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH).

 

  • Increase in carbon tax by €10/tonne in Budget 2021, provided effective measures are also implemented to reduce fuel poverty. This should be combined with regulation of wood fuel quality as outlined in IrBEA’s submission to DCCAE and EPA.

 

  • Ringfencing of revenue generated from carbon tax increases to provide support for the development of bioenergy and a biogas/biomethane industry in Ireland on a phased and sustainable basis benefitting rural jobs and the circular economy.

 

  • In line with Action 53 in the Climate Action Plan, make provision for a dedicated preference category under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) and other processes for financing of biomass CHP, biogas CHP and local heating projects, with particular reference to community involvement, and mobilisation of forest biomass.

 

  • As part of the Midlands Renewable Energy Hub, provision for the widening of support for greater use of biomass at scale to decarbonise electricity at Edenderry Power transitioning to 100% renewable electricity by 2023.

 

  • The Midlands Renewable Energy hub needs to be established immediately to allow the repurposing away from peat to the efficient usage of bioenergy for heat and power provision and the establishment of supply chains, employment opportunities and rural development.

 

  • Introduction of a Biogas support scheme to mobilise an Irish biogas industry on a phased basis as per our joint policy paper developed in association with Cré

 

  • Provision be made in the Finance Act for the revenue treatment of biomass chipping and related equipment to be the same as the treatment of other mobile machinery such as mobile cranes and concrete pumping equipment. This is specially related to using rebated fuel, registration of overweigh vehicles and tachograph usage.

 

  • As per the Biofuel Obligation Scheme, biofuels are blended with petrol and diesel available at the forecourt. We call for the immediate increase of blending rates to E10 (10% Ethanol) petrol blend and B12 (12% Biodiesel) diesel blend in Ireland. This would increase the blending rates from the current substitution rates of E5 for petrol and B7 for Diesel.

 

  • Introduction of a grant scheme to support the transition from fossil fuel appliances to eco-design compliant appliances at a residential level. This will support an energy transition to the use of cleaner, energy efficient appliances which will contribute to greenhouse gas emissions savings, and rural employment.

 

  • That the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine make provision in their budget for the introduction of support for the energy crop sector. The Irish Bioenergy Association, its members and key stakeholders are working on a policy paper in this area as a way of providing indigenous biomass, an alternative farm enterprise, promoting the bioeconomy, rural development, and jobs.

 

  • We support the calls by the forest industry for financial provision be made for increased staff and specialist resourcing in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to address forestry licensing issues and backlog.

IrBEA Budget Lobbying Document 2020 Pdf

PRESS RELEASE: Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) welcomes new Project Officer

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) is delighted to announce that Stephen McCormack has been appointed as a Project Officer for the Association.

Seán Finan IrBEA CEO said “On behalf of IrBEA, I’m delighted to welcome Stephen McCormack to the Association. I wish him the best of luck and every success in his new role. Stephen brings with him a wealth of experience to the organisation and we look forward to working with him at this pivotal juncture as Ireland transitions to renewables away from fossil fuels”

Stephen McCormack holds a Bachelor Degree in Energy, Sustainability and the Environment from IT Sligo. He also holds a postgraduate in Environmental Management. He brings a broad range of experience and knowledge to IrBEA and will join the IrBEA team at an exciting time for the Renewable Energy sector. Stephen will focus on delivery of the recently commenced Interreg NW Europe Three C Project. This project will focus on the circular carbon economy through the development of value-added carbon products and services based on biochar and carbon feedstocks. Stephen will also be involved in other projects and work programmes within the organisation.

Prior to joining IrBEA, he worked for a number of years with the Regional Development team at the Western Development Commission. During that time Stephen worked on the RE-DIRECT project and the Blue Circular Economy project, two ERDF funded projects looking at the area of the circular economy.

Stephen McCormack said “I am delighted to be able to join the team here at IrBEA. I think the work done by the association is invaluable and I am looking forward to working with the team, the members and wider stakeholders to help further the development of the sector in any way I can. I see great potential in the role bioenergy will play in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and I am particularly interested in the possible intersection of bioenergy and environmental improvements that the Three C project will explore.”

About the Three C Project:

Add information paragraph

The Three C project is a transnational Interreg North West Europe project consisting of project partners from 6 different countries. It is the follow on project to the RE-DIRECT project and is aimed at promoting the development of high quality products and value chains based on charcoal feedstocks. It will do this through the creation of regional Circular Carbon Hubs( CC-Hubs) where products can be developed and marketed, a number of Circular Carbon Labs (CC- Labs) where products and feedstocks can be quality tested, and, through the development of a network( CC- Net) that will provide business supports, training and advice for SMEs looking to get involved in the sector.

PRESS RELEASE: The Irish Bioenergy opportunity is immense – New IrBEA President Paddy Phelan


This week the new President and Vice President of the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) were elected by the Management Executive Committee of the organisation. Paddy Phelan, CEO of 3 County Energy Agency was elected the new President and  Maurice Ryan, Director and Business Development at Green Belt was elected the new Vice President. They both take up their roles at a time of great opportunity for the organisation and the Irish Bioenergy sector as the economy begins to reopens again following Covid 19.

Accepting the new role, IrBEA President Paddy Phelan said “I am delighted to take on the role of IrBEA President. I look forward to working with members and all stakeholders for the betterment and advancement of the sector. The Irish Bioenergy opportunity is immense. This opportunity has yet to be recognised at a political or policy level with adequate action and support measures which are necessary for the widespread deployment of bioenergy. Sustainably produced bioenergy will play a key role in Irelands transition from a fossil-fuel based economy to a low carbon economy. The bioenergy sectors covering biomass, biogas, biofuels, energy crops and wood fuels, are a key part of the overall bioeconomy and have a significant part to play in its growth and development. As well as contributing towards Ireland’s renewable energy targets, the sector can be the catalyst to drive jobs and economic growth in rural Ireland while assisting to address the climate change and emissions reduction challenges we face as a country and people”.

Paddy Phelan continued “I’m committed to working with the IrBEA membership and broader stakeholders to promote the deployment of bioenergy produced in locally energy supply networks. In IrBEA, we continue to lobby and advocate for supports to ensure that bioenergy contributes as part of a mix of renewable energy technologies. Our objective should be to provide 100% of our energy demand by 2050 from renewable sources. Promoting local energy supply is very important. Rural Ireland can provide energy to nearby urban centres which need renewable and dispatchable bioenergy to support industry and particularly the Agri food-industry. This is all linked back to the broader rural Agri sector. The capacity for agricultural diversification and for agriculture to be a net contributor to carbon sequestration through bioenergy production is immense. Bioenergy is a mature industry across Europe and alongside other renewable energy technologies makes up the majority of energy production in many regions. This means that the region retains the value of that energy. When consumers buy that energy they are buying local”

Maurice Ryan, IrBEA Vice President said  “I am delighted to have been elected to the role of Vice President of IrBEA. IrBEA has proved to be an invaluable organisation for the bioenergy sector and a great support to promote the mobilisation of timber from the private sector. I look forward to promoting the broad value bioenergy brings to the country, and the future opportunities that will present over the next number of years. The team is extremely strong and positive and will certainly deliver value to all members and stakeholders.”

The organisation would like to acknowledge the work of Des O’Toole who has concluded a 3 year term as IrBEA President.

Paddy Phelan concluded “I would like to acknowledge the work of my predecessor Des O’Toole and thank him for his efforts and commitment to the development of the organisation and sector during his time in the role. Everyone in IrBEA wishes Des the best of luck in his career.”

Video of Paddy Phelan speaking HERE

Ends

For Further information please contact: Seán Finan IrBEA CEO at 0874146480

PRESS RELEASE: IrBEA presents bioenergy proposals for economic recovery and climate action in Programme for Government 15/05/20

Press Release for Immediate Release:

15/05/2020

IrBEA presents bioenergy proposals for economic recovery and climate action in Programme for Government

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) in recent weeks has circulated its Programme for Government proposals to political representatives across all political parties and independent groups. The organisation continues to lobby for the Programme for Government to incorporate bioenergy measures and supports to assist economic recovery, emissions reduction targets and climate action.

Seán Finan CEO of IrBEA said “we are calling on all political parties and independent groupings to embrace renewable energy as a robust means to rebuild the Irish economy after Covid 19. Our detailed document reflects the views of the association’s members across the island of Ireland. It lays out the opportunities through bioenergy for job creation, addressing the climate emergency, enhancing Irelands trade balance and encouraging rural economic activity while at the same time delivering cost savings for many energy users”.

Ireland has a considerable natural advantage when It comes to growing fuel crops such as wood fuel, biomass energy crops and feedstock for anaerobic digestion. Ireland is second last of EU member states in terms of its use of renewable heat. Ireland has had the best part of the last decade to meet renewable energy targets and has failed.

Noel Gavigan, Technical Executive of IrBEA said “the new government must now focus on the serious task of meeting 2030 emissions targets and must place this at the centre of its policy agenda moving forward. Ireland currently derives 4% of its energy from bioenergy. This needs to rise to 15% by 2030 with further deployment beyond to meet Paris Agreement targets. The potential for economic recovery, reducing emissions and addressing climate change through quadrupling our bioenergy industry is a remarkable opportunity. All the sectors of bioenergy including biomass, biogas, biofuels, energy crops and wood fuels offer significant potential for growth through policy incentives and measures”

In conclusion, Seán Finan IrBEA CEO said “the world is in the middle of the Covid 19 crisis. Economic recovery is a task that will involve all of society and a new approach.  Embracing the opportunities presented by the bioenergy sectors are immense. Dedicated supports and measures to the sector are required to make this opportunity a reality ”.

 

Ends

 

For Further information contact

Seán Finan, IrBEA CEO, 0874146480

Notes to Editors:

 

Summary of the Bioenergy measures which IrBEA would like to see included in the Programme for Government covering the sectors of Biomass, Biogas, Biofuels, Energy Crops and Wood Fuels include:

 

  • Greater financial resources to fully implement the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) to expand the timescale, size and scope of the support scheme via a ring-fenced budget allocation allied to aggressive promotion to ensure growth in renewable heat through biomass and biogas.
  • Advocating for mandatory renewable heating use to be in place by all public bodies by 2035.
  • Introduction of statutory regulation of the moisture content of wood fuels in accordance with the international wood fuel standard – ISO 17225. This is needed to deliver cleaner air, enhance public health and drive the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy at a domestic level.
  • Calling on the Government to re-establish the Energy Crops support scheme considering market development through the SSRH. This scheme would assist in meeting local biomass demand, to promote diversification of agriculture and to provide alternative income for farmers.
  • Calling for the proposed Biogas support scheme for medium to large scale cooperative style biogas plants detailed in the IrBEA/Cré Biogas policy paper to be implemented on a phased basis.
  • Calling for the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) to ringfence funding for modern bioenergy-based technologies such as combined heat and power, providing efficiencies up to and above 90%. Importantly these technologies have the added advantages of providing dispatchable power with grid stability benefits, community involvement and rural development in line with existing climate change polices.
  • The transition to higher blending rates of E12 Biodiesel blend over a period. This means upping the % of Biodiesel in diesel to 12% which comes at no extra cost to the consumer or the exchequer and requires no investment or change in infrastructure or vehicles.
  • The immediate transition to higher blending rates of E10 ethanol petrol blend. This means upping the % of ethanol in petrol to 10% which comes at no extra cost to the consumer or the exchequer and requires no investment or change in infrastructure or vehicles.
  • Introduction of a fuel price support for biomethane as a fuel for heavy goods and industrial vehicles to maximise proven environmental benefits.

 

PRESS: Stakeholders gather in Croke Park for major bioenergy conference

Stakeholders from Ireland’s bioenergy and renewables sector gathered in Croke Park today, Wednesday, February 26, for a major conference exploring the “untapped potential” for biomass, biogass, biofuels and other alternative energy sources.

The IrBEA (Irish Bioenergy Association) National Bioenergy Conference was sponsored by Bord na Móna, and looked at several opportunities to expand Ireland’s bioenergy sector – including opportunities for agriculture in terms of on-farm bioenergy. Read the full article HERE

PRESS: Money from Grass, Gas and Glass – Farmers Journal talks to Seán Finan

In the Land Use Supplement of the Farmers Journal Amii McKeever reports on-farm renewable energy opportunities amongst the experts who contributed to this article Seán Finan  IrBEA CEO talks about the potential for domestic and non-domestic biomass heating and the potential for medium/large scale agriculture based biomethane plants to be developed by farm communities.  View the full article HERE

IrBEA work with Members & SEAI regarding Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) Applications

IrBEA has held recent meetings with SEAI on issued highlighted by members regarding the approval, sign off and other aspects of SSRH Applications. We recently communicated with members who install biomass systems highlighting the issues identified to date and sought feedback on any other recurring issues. We realise the urgency to address issues arising and as the industry representative body, we will be meeting SEAI as soon as possible to address and find practical solutions to the issues identified. We will follow up with members once the meetings have taken place.  If any member would like to discuss this further please do not hesitate to get in touch with Seán Finan IrBEA CEO (seanfinan@irbea.org).