Exploring wood fuel drying techniques: Workshops and site visits organized by WFQA and IrBEA


The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) and the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance (WFQA) Scheme, is organising a series of wood fuel drying demonstrations and workshops. These free events are open to IrBEA & WFQA members, potential new members and interested stakeholders. The aim is to enhance the understanding of wood fuel drying techniques and processes. These events are scheduled to take place in May and June of 2024. Through these workshops and site visits, participants will gain practical insights, interact with industry experts, and exchange knowledge. These workshops are designed to assist woodfuel suppliers to meet their moisture content requirements as specified under the Solid Fuel Regulations. These workshops are open to all fuel suppliers and all members. Each event will showcase unique learning aspects of wood fuel production and we encourage participants to attend as many of these events as possible. Wood fuel drying is a pivotal stage in the production of quality wood fuels. Various drying methods are employed, contingent upon factors such as wood type, desired moisture content, production scale, and resource availability. During these site visits, attendees will have the opportunity to explore different drying methods, including:

Workshop 1: Polytunnel drying, Thursday 16th May 2024 – 10:30 to 13:30, Sherlogs, Gainstown, Navan, Co. Meath.
Industrial scale polytunnels are an excellent tool to accelerate air drying while also providing fuel storage. Properly designed tunnels offer a controlled environment with elevated temperatures conducive to fast wood drying. Particularly advantageous for smaller-scale operations or regions with unpredictable or adverse weather conditions, polytunnel drying provides an effective alternative to traditional outdoor drying methods.

Workshop 2: Kiln drying, Thursday 30th May 2024 – 10:30 to 15:30, Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge, followed by a site visit to D.Brennan and Sons, Kilcullen, Co. Kildare.
Kilns are used to rapidly dry wood fuels with artificial heat and airflow. While kilns do have an associated capital and operational cost, they can effectively reduce the drying time from several months to a few days. Fuel drying can be relatively low tech. At this workshop, we will be hosting a kiln expert who will explain the fundamentals of proper kiln drying. Kiln drying offers faster and more uniform drying compared to air drying, making it a valuable tool for large and small-scale wood fuel production facilities seeking to have more control over fuel production.

Workshop 3: Air drying, Saturday 15th June 2024 – 10:30 to 13:30, Cotter Bros Firewood, Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick.
This approach involves the correct stacking of wood in open-air environments with ample airflow and sunlight exposure. Air drying, when done correctly is an effective low cost method of producing wood fuels. However, it does require care, time, attention and space. Air drying is often a precursor to further drying processes such as kilns and polytunnels, particularly suited for smaller-scale operations. This site operator has perfected various air drying techniques which allow them to consistently produce firewood at under 20% moisture content.

UK Tour 4: UK kiln drying site visits, first week of June 2024
We will be hosting a 2-day study tour to the UK to meet with firewood producers utilising various kiln designs to produce firewood to 20% moisture content. This excursion will afford participants invaluable insights into kiln operations, further details will be provided shortly. The trip will be held in the first week of June with dates and full details to be confirmed.

These events are free. Seperate registration for each event in advance is mandatory. See links below.
For further information on these events please contact Noel Gavigan at noelgavigan@irbea.org or Teresa O’Brien at teresaobrien@irbea.org
Register links below
The Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme (WFQA) is managed and administered by Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) and the promotion of the scheme is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Webinar 44: Launching the Interreg Cascade project and updates from the Irish biochar sector

Dear webinar participants and IrBEA members,
A live recording of webinar 44 is available here.

Topic Overview
At this webinar, IrBEA launched the Interreg Northwest Europe Cascade project and presented updates on the development of the Irish biochar sector. The CASCADE (Circular Conversion Cascades to Transform Residual Biomass to Carbon Products) project promotes the transition to a circular and resource efficient economy. Our previous projects have demonstrated the successful conversion of substantial amounts of waste biomasses into biochar. This process serves as a sustainable alternative to fossil coal and peat, resulting in the creation of CO2-negative products and value chains. Building upon these achievements, our current project aims to further expand Biomass-to-Biochar production and value chains. IrBEA will introduce, manage, and optimize these chains across seven European pilot regions, encompassing urban, rural, and peri-urban areas. Donegal has been selected as one of our pilot regions. Watch this webinar to find out more about this project and to stay updated on the latest developments in the Irish Biochar sector

Webinar MC: Seán Finan, IrBEA CEO
Presenter: Stephen McCormack, IrBEA Project Executive

Update on IrBEA’s visit in January to the Bio360 Expo in Nantes

The Bio360 Expo running in January this year was an event focused on bioenergy, renewable carbon and the bioeconomy held this January. For the first time, IrBEA helped secure an Irish Pavilion at this prestigious event in Nantes, France. We hosted Irish companies Arigna Fuels and Celignis Biomass Lab, along with European Partners, Blinc Inc., who coordinates the Interreg NW European projects of THREE C Creating The Circular Carbon Economy and more recently, CASCADE project, both of which the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) has been a partner in.

It was imperative for IrBEA to have a presence at this event and promote the bioenergy sector in Ireland to delegates from around the world. We made numerous contacts and garnered interest from companies both in Europe and globally, who were interested in bioenergy developments in Ireland.

Conor Layden, Commercial Director at Arigna Fuels Ltd delivered an excellent presentation on the company’s transition from smokeless coal to biochar for biocoal. Following his presentation, there was a notable surge in visitors to the Irish pavilion stand, eager to discuss Arigna Fuels journey with Conor.

Dan Hayes, CEO of Celignis Biomass Lab, also delivered a powerful presentation on the panel for Sustainable Aviation Fuels. Celignis an Irish company in Limerick Ireland, specializes in providing analytical services for the biomass and biofuel industries, assisting clients in understanding the composition of their biomass feedstocks, crucial for efficient conversion processes such as biofuel production.

Tim Scholze chairman at blinc eG, is the German partner who presented on the panel, ‘Biochar Horizons: exploring new frontiers.’ Tim gave a comprehensive update on the different Interreg NWE projects: Prograss, Combine, REDIRECT, THREE C and now CASCADE, these projects have helped build a robust circular biochar industry across Europe.

During the event, we had the opportunity to meet with journalists from Bioenergy International – Alan Sherrard and Dorota Natucka-Persson who took pictures and discussed future articles profiling Irish businesses. Additionally, we engaged with Fiona McAteer from LeBruin, a corporate finance company that has already invested in the sector and was at Bio360 Expo seeking to network with other innovative businesses. We will be touch with everyone who came to the Irish Pavilion and to IrBEA’s trade stand. If you want to follow up with us, please do not hesitate to contact Teresa O’Brien at teresaobrien@irbea.org and Stephen McCormack at stephenmccormack@irbea.org.

PRESS RELEASE: IrBEA welcomes the recognition of Biochar and BECCS in Ireland’s draft Climate Action Plan 2024

For Immediate Release:

12th January 2024

Following extensive lobbying and advocacy by the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) and its members over recent years, the Climate Action Plan published by the Government in December 2023, contains for the first-time recognition of the role of both biochar and bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS) as carbon removal measures.

Stephen McCormack, Project Executive with IrBEA said: “We are delighted to finally see reference to biochar and the potential role it can play in delivering on our shared climate action ambitions. IrBEA and its members acknowledge that biochar production and use, from biomass, can sequester carbon, but also has the ability to be used within a whole host of sectors including environmental applications, the bioeconomy, agriculture, horticulture, bioenergy (heat and electricity) production as well as biomaterials to name a few. While the mention of biochar is welcomed in the draft climate action plan, this may be viewed as a first step, and one which will require further policy development, research and support.”

IrBEA, as the representative body for the biochar industry in Ireland, has a growing number of members involved in this emerging sector – everyone from biomass suppliers, technology providers and installers, consultants, research bodies and analytics, producers and users. IrBEA has also participated in a series of successive Interreg Northwest Europe (NWE) funded projects. Through these projects knowledge transfer and product development ideas have been rolled out in collaboration with international partners, giving valuable insight into the role biochar can play. The latest of these, the CASCADE project, will see IrBEA work with industry stakeholders to further develop biochar application scenarios within the pilot region of County Donegal, where the emphasis will be on agricultural, horticultural and environmental applications of biochar.

Sean Finan, CEO of IrBEA stated that “The draft climate action plan acknowledges the potential role that biochar and bioenergy carbon capture and storage technology can play in carbon removals including the bioeconomy. We welcome the possibility of these technologies being utilised to address unallocated savings as updated carbon budgets are calculated for the second half of the decade. Key industry stakeholders have advocated for years how biochar production is one of most cost effective “safe, scalable and shovel ready” methods of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies at our disposal where the carbon sequestered is widely recognised as having a good level of permanence. The production of biochar using pyrolysis technology is a valuable source of bioenergy (heat and electricity) and the resultant biochar can be used in a wide variety of sectors really adds to its attractiveness as a tool for fighting climate change.”

2023 was a turning point for biochar here in Ireland. IrBEA hosted a very successful Biochar and Carbon Products conference in May. In addition, several prominent and high-profile biochar related speakers presented at IrBEA’s National Bioenergy conference in October. Recently, IrBEA developed a feasibility study to explore sustainable management of agricultural green waste in Ireland on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and this report identified biochar production and use, as one of several feasible, viable and sustainable alternatives to burning agricultural green waste. 2023 also saw biochar’s inclusion in carbon farming discussions at both a national and European level.

Seán Finan concluded “Biochar’s inclusion in the draft Climate Action Plan is a positive step and – having first been identified by the Intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) as far back as 2018 as one of the promising negative emissions technologies (NET) capable of Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) at scale.”

Stephen McCormack concluded: “2024 is set to be an exciting year for the development of the emerging biochar sector here in Ireland. Arigna Fuels in Co. Roscommon will commission their new production plant, which will mean Ireland will be home to one of the largest biochar production capacities in Europe. There are numerous other production plants in various stages of commissioning or planning, with technologies being developed at differing scales of production and sophistication. There has been an obvious increase in awareness and recognition of biochar’s potential across various Government departments, research bodies and industry. We look forward to continuing to work with our members, including our dedicated Biochar and Carbon Products working group, alongside other stakeholders to further develop the sector and see its position as a CDR strategy strengthened.”

ENDS

Bioenergy – Brazil and Ireland, strengthening ties and sharing knowledge

Information Seminar on the 23rd of November at the Westbury hotel in Dublin.

Bioenergy plays a fundamental role in decarbonising the world economy and speeding up the global energy transition, by providing a renewable source of energy that can substantially reduce the use of fossil fuels.

Ireland has legally mandated emissions reductions targets and is on a trajectory to increase renewable energy generation in the next decade. The key to this is the development of the bioenergy sector. Ireland can learn from other countries who have a mainstream bioenergy industry. Brazil is an example of this with biomethane, biofuels and biomass positioned as crucial fuels to decarbonise their economy.

Despite already possessing one of the cleanest energy mixes in the world, Brazil is moving forward on hydrogen and other low carbon intensity technologies, such as biomass and biofuels. The country is fast developing its potential to produce biogas, particularly biomethane. Ireland, with a target of 5.7 TWh of biomethane by 2030, can learn from the Brazilian experience on how to mobilise the sector.

This seminar presents a platform for discussion and welcomes policymakers, technology providers, project developers, industry experts and entrepreneurs in the bioenergy sector from both Brazil and Ireland. We would like to focus on the common challenges and potential for cooperation between the two countries.

Full agenda and speaker line-up here.

Register here

Invitation to the Midlands Bioenergy Development Project Information Seminar Series 2023 – Tullamore Event (Friday 24th November)

Information roadshow – Business opportunities in bioenergy

Are you curious about bioenergy?

What is bioenergy? The sector covers solid biomass (woodfuels), liquid biofuels, biogas/biomethane, energy crops, and biochar.

Perhaps you are looking to upskill or diversify, move to a renewable fuel, start a new business or product line or looking at the options available to you?

Why not join us at this free event to find out more.

Registration is required to attend click the link here

Free business mentoring programme

The National Just Transition Fund supported Midlands Bioenergy Development Project delivered by the Irish Bioenergy Association is offering a business mentoring programme in the form of non-financial and technical support to start-ups and existing businesses seeking to diversify, switch fuels and/or start a new bioenergy business. You can learn more about this project and how to express interest in this free business mentoring programme at:

https://www.irbea.org/mbdp

Agenda

  • Introduction to Bioenergy (sectors and fuels)
  • Explaining the National JTF Midlands Bioenergy Development Project (MBDP) and opportunity to get involved in the free business mentoring programme.
  • Update on the bioenergy feedstock and energy users’ analysis reports completed for the midland’s region.
  • Update on the supports available for solid biomass and biogas through the SEAI’s Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH).
  • Industry updates on the policy and developments in the biomethane/biogas, biomass, and biochar sectors.
  • Open discussion and Q&A.

These information roadshows events and mentoring programme are being organised under the auspices of the National Just Transition funded Midlands Bioenergy Development Programme.

Press Release: Ireland must immediately activate Bioenergy’s essential role in emissions reduction and achieving renewable energy targets

Pictured here: L to R Padraig Fleming, Biomethane Programme Manager at Gas Networks Ireland (GNI), Shannon Oldfield, Events Manager, Gas Network Ireland, Seán Finan, IrBEA CEO, Minister Eamon Ryan T.D., Leader of the Green Party and Minister for Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, Paddy Phelan, IrBEA President & CEO Southeast Energy Agency, Brendan Kelly, Head of Commercial at Bord na Móna Renewable Energy.

IrBEA’s 22nd National Bioenergy Conference took place last week (Thursday 12th of October) at the Royal Marine Hotel, Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin.

Bioenergy is the largest source of renewable energy globally. Today’s national bioenergy conference is focusing on the need to accelerate the uptake of bioenergy’s recognition in both policy and technology deployment in Ireland.  Solid biomass, biogas/biomethane, liquid biofuels and biochar all have a significant role to play in a broader mix of technology and fuelling options to reduce emissions and promote a transition to renewable energy.

Paddy Phelan, Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) President and CEO of the Southeast Energy Agency said: “We need all renewable technologies and renewable fuels to be deployed as part of a broad renewable energy policy in Ireland. The conference title ‘Bioenergy’s essential role in emissions reduction and the energy transition’ is very appropriate in the current environment of a climate crisis and worries about energy security. IrBEA members have the technologies and fuelling solutions which will address all those concerns.”

Phelan continued “Our pursuit of renewable energy, specifically bioenergy, stands at a crossroads in Ireland. We must address policy gaps and foster wider adoption to ensure that all sectors can participate in carbon neutrality, Environmental, Sustainability and Governance (ESG) excellence, and insulation from energy price volatility. Together, we can overcome challenges and seize the opportunities presented by bioenergy to create a greener, more sustainable, and resilient Ireland for future generations.”

Bord na Móna and Gas Networks Ireland (GNI) are the co- sponsors of the 22nd national bioenergy conference. Bord na Móna has plans to deploy a wide range of renewable energy generation. Specifically in bioenergy this includes 100% biomass use at Edenderry Power limited and the development of biomethane production capacity. Gas Networks Ireland is actively engaged in encouraging the development of an indigenous biomethane industry here.

From 2024 onwards, Bord na Móna’s Edenderry Power Plant will operate off 100% biomass. This shows the potential of bioenergy and how it can help Ireland transition from fossil fuels to low carbon, renewable energy generation. By 2024, Bord na Móna’s Edenderry Power Plant will be supplying 100% renewable electricity to the national grid. As a dispatchable plant, this will help support the national grid when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine. It will also stabilise the national grid and enable more MW of intermittent renewable energy (such as wind and solar) to be brought onto the system to help Ireland achieve its Climate goals. Upwards of 80% of the Biomass material used at Bord na Móna’s Edenderry Power Plant is supplied by Irish suppliers. The company’s focus is on maximizing indigenous biomass supplies in the coming years. Bord na Móna only sources sustainable biomass meeting the strict criteria outlined in the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive. Bord na Móna’s biomass requirement provides a significant socio-economic benefit to rural Irish communities.

Brendan Kelly, Commercial Manager, Bord na Móna Renewable Energy said: “Bord na Móna is delighted to co-sponsor the 2023 IrBEA National Bioenergy Conference which highlights the critical role Bioenergy is playing and will continue to play in Ireland’s drive towards Net Zero. Leveraging biomass as a carbon-neutral energy source through its Edenderry Power Plant forms an important part of Bord na Móna’s climate solutions offering.  Edenderry Power Plant will operate off 100% biomass from January 2024, assisting Ireland meet its vital climate action targets. We welcome the ambition of IrBEA and the wider industry in looking to play an even bigger role in helping Ireland reach its Climate Action Plan targets.”

A Biomethane Energy Report has been compiled and published by Gas Networks Ireland based upon Request for Information (RFI) responses and outlines the development of the gas network to prepare for increased biomethane connections and injection.

Key facts and figures from the Gas Networks Ireland Biomethane Energy Report:

  • 176 prospective producer responses received
  • in volume terms, responses total to 14.8 TWh annual production
  • Median plant production capacity is 40 GWh per annum
  • Median distance from producers to the gas network is 5km
  • Emissions reductions from 14.8 TWh of biomethane of 3.94 Mt CO2 eq per annum by 2030

Padraig Fleming, Biomethane Programme Manager at Gas Networks Ireland said “Gas Networks Ireland is delighted to co-sponsor the 2023 IrBEA National Bioenergy Conference. The RFI response in terms of production volumes is more than two and a half times that of Ireland’s stated ambition of 5.7 TWh of biomethane production by 2030.  Responses, both in number and volume terms, serve to underline the robustness of the Government’s 2030 biomethane ambition. Furthermore, analysis of current domestic consumption of natural gas relative to the estimates for the national biomethane production potential in 2030 from the RFI indicates that 26% of total gas demand could be met by biomethane.”

Fleming continued “Biomethane is one of the renewable gases of the future and is available today to decarbonise the energy system.  Ireland has a real opportunity to develop a biomethane industry at scale, which will offer numerous benefits for our agricultural industry, the decarbonisation of our economy and the development of a key indigenous energy resource in the coming years.”

Seán Finan, Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) CEO concluded: “IrBEA is active in the promotion and deployment of solid, liquid or gaseous bioenergy. Today, we explore the many aspects associated with our industry including its potential and opportunity as well as hearing from experts in the emerging carbon removals sector. IrBEA members are keenly focused on developing and delivering clean, renewable enRergy, along with carbon storage and resource recovery solutions.”

Picture Caption: L to R Padraig Fleming, Biomethane Programme Manager at Gas Networks Ireland (GNI), Shannon Oldfield, Events Manager, Gas Network Ireland, Seán Finan, IrBEA CEO, Minister Eamon Ryan T.D., Leader of the Green Party and Minister for Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, Paddy Phelan, IrBEA President & CEO Southeast Energy Agency, Brendan Kelly, Head of Commercial at Bord na Móna Renewable Energy.

Press Release: Bioenergy’s essential role in emissions reduction and the energy transition

For Immediate Release:

09/10/2023

Bioenergy’s essential role in emissions reduction and the energy transition

IrBEA announces details of upcoming National Bioenergy Conference

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) 22nd National Bioenergy Conference will take place on Thursday 12th of October at the Royal Marine Hotel, Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin.

Bioenergy is uniquely placed in providing a solution to the current challenges which Ireland faces in terms of emissions reduction and the energy transition. IrBEA looks forward to welcoming a wide and diverse range of stakeholders to this flagship event. At this year’s conference, the focus will be on the need to accelerate the uptake of bioenergy’s recognition in both policy and technology deployment in Ireland.

Seán Finan, Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) CEO said: “We need all renewable technologies and renewable fuels to be deployed as part of a broad renewable energy policy in Ireland. The conference title ‘Bioenergy’s essential role in emissions reduction and the energy transition’ is very appropriate in the current environment of a climate crisis and worries about energy security. IrBEA members have the technologies and fuelling solutions which will address all of those concerns.”

Bord na Móna and Gas Networks Ireland (GNI) are the co- sponsors of the 22nd national bioenergy conference. Bord na Móna has plans to deploy a wide range of renewable energy generation. Specifically in bioenergy this includes 100% biomass use at Edenderry Power limited and the development of biomethane production capacity. Gas Networks Ireland is actively engaged in encouraging the development of an indigenous biomethane industry here.

Finan continued: “We are very pleased that both Bord na Móna and Gas Networks Ireland have agreed to co-sponsor the conference. Both companies are keenly focused on developing and delivering clean, renewable energy, along with carbon storage and resource recovery solutions.”

Some of the highlights at the national bioenergy conference will include:

  • Insight to the hotel’s biomass heating system
  • The role of bioenergy in Ireland’s renewable heat, transport and agricultural policy
  • Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) delivery so far and future plans
  • Indigenous Irish biofuel production – delivering a circular economy approach
  • Update on Gas Network Ireland’s biomethane energy report
  • Mobilising the solid biomass supply chain
  • Bord na Móna’s Edenderry plant – Powering ahead with bioenergy
  • Opportunity for bioenergy and perspective from the Climate Change Advisory Council
  • Conversations with leading industry pioneers
  • An international perspective on the emerging biochar and carbon dioxide removal industry
  • Implementing the Irish biomethane strategy and market development opportunities for biomethane
  • Latest updates from Europe and the UK on biomass and biogas/biomethane developments

Finan concluded:  “All those involved in this year’s conference are active in the promotion and deployment of solid, liquid or gaseous bioenergy. We look forward to welcoming a broad range of delegates to Dún Laoghaire for intensive engagement on many aspects associated with our industry including its potential and opportunity as well as hearing from experts in the emerging carbon removals sector.”

ENDS.

IrBEA’s 22nd National Bioenergy Conference – Thursday 12th October 2023

In two weeks time…book now!

The 2023 National Bioenergy Conference will focus on the theme ‘Bioenergy’s essential role in emissions reduction and the energy transition’. The conference will be an opportunity for all stakeholders to discuss how bioenergy can be embraced as part of the energy transition to renewable energy technologies. The conference agenda will cover renewable heat, transport and electricity.

In order to meet the Government’s ambitious targets for renewable energy and decarbonisation, Ireland must rapidly transition to renewable energy. Ireland must support sustainable, efficient and competitive renewable technologies that can also help deliver on security of supply. Bioenergy is well placed to satisfy these requirements.

Ireland has readily available feedstocks that can be mobilised to drive the bioenergy sector. Solid biomass plays a substantial role in the domestic, commercial and industrial setting, replacing coal, oil and gas. Renewable gas in the form of biogas/biomethane can be produced by using anaerobic digestion (AD) technology from a range of biomass resources, readily available in Ireland. Liquid biofuels are making a strong contribution in terms of transport emissions reduction.

We will also look to emerging markets such as biochar, bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and carbon dioxide removals (CDR).

Kindly sponsored by Bord na Móna and Gas Networks Ireland the conference will discuss how Ireland can further embrace bioenergy within the energy mix and discuss the positive impact the technology can make in emissions reduction and the energy transition.
#bioenergy #biomass #biogas #biofuels #biochar #forestry #sustainability #circulareconomy

BOOK NOW: https://NationalbioenergyconferenceIRE23.eventbrite.ie

SPEAKERS: https://www.nationalbioenergyconference.ie/speakers-2023.html