Bioenergy should be a central focus of Ireland’s Bioeconomy Action Plan – IrBEA
For Immediate Release:
02nd February 2023
The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) made a detailed submission to the recent Bioeconomy Action Plan consultation, on behalf of its members, IrBEA highlighted the crucial role and potential of bioenergy in response to a number of dedicated topics. The organisation highlighted some general points regarding the emerging sector, and in particular, the role the bioenergy sectors of solid biomass, biogas/biomethane, liquid biofuels and biochar have to play in the successful development of a bioeconomy here in Ireland.
Stephen McCormack, Project Executive at IrBEA said “The potential for the growth and development of a mainstream bioeconomy here in Ireland is huge with bioenergy being a key enabler of this potential. In order for this growth and potential to be realised, a carefully developed, actionable and resourced action plan is required from Government. This will require ongoing collaboration across a wide range of stakeholders and across Government departments, continuous focus at scaling technologies and processes beyond the laboratory, as well as a sustained communication and outreach campaign targeting all walks of life, to enable the transition to a biobased economy with bioenergy being a central pillar.”
Many stakeholders are currently key enablers of the bioeconomy and already actively involved in the bioeconomy space, but they don’t realise it. They are operating both here and abroad. These stakeholders include biofuel producers, technology providers, designers and installers, supply chains and logistics responsible for mobilising biomass feedstocks, biomass analytical companies, researchers, farmers and foresters. Bioenergy is very important to develop supply chains which potentially in the future could evolve to feed an emerging bioeconomy.
Seán Finan, CEO of IrBEA, said “The bioeconomy and the bioenergy sector are intrinsically linked and wholly complimentary. The successful development of a bioeconomy here in Ireland will depend first and foremost on the mobilisation of biomass feedstock – an activity many IrBEA members have been involved in for many years. Current Government policy does not strongly focus on the development of biomass supply chains with favourable incentives and supports. Biomass supply chains have potential to be evolved and diversify into the future to satisfy a growing bioeconomy as it develops and matures. But without the supply chains being developed for bioenergy purposes in the short to medium term, this bioeconomy potential will not be realised. Bioenergy’s ability to offer a renewable alternative to fossil fuel use as well as the cascading principle of biomass use, as outlined in the action plan, allows for bioenergy to potentially power biorefining sites but also allow for energy recovery from any biomass fractions that aren’t converted into other products.”
Some of the general points made by IrBEA in response to the consultation include the following:
- The mobilisation of biomass feedstocks will become increasingly important and many IrBEA members are already active in this space.
- Technology options should be considered across the spectrum of cost and complexity – both high tech and low tech.
- Cascading principle of biomass use – allows for bioenergy to not only power the production of biobased products and services but also allows for energy recovery from unused biomass fractions or end of life material.
- Enhanced activities with the Higher Education Institutions are required to ensure a pipeline of expertise and talent to service the needs of the emerging sector.
- There is a strong need for ongoing communications activities, outreach campaigns and ground up approach to embed the bioeconomy across all walks of life.
- An emerging bioeconomy can continue to provide further decarbonisation opportunities for the transport sector through the provision of sustainable transport biofuels.
Stephen McCormack concluded “In making this submission and, with our ongoing involvement in the National Bioeconomy Forum, IrBEA will continue to work on behalf of its members and industry stakeholders, many of whom are already championing the innovation required to develop the sector. We will also seek to assist and inform others who are looking to new and exciting diversification opportunities – everyone from our farming members right up to other members involved in research and development. A well-developed Bioeconomy Action Plan will enable the sector to flourish.”
For Further Information Contact:
Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 087 4146480
Stephen Mc Cormack IrBEA Project Executive on 087 4403242
Notes to Editors:
What is the Bioeconomy?
The bioeconomy can be defined as the use of renewable biomass which can be sustainably processed into products, goods and services which can be used to offset the traditional need for use of fossil fuels. The word “biorefining” is often used to describe the fractionation of various biomass resources into different useful component parts. Biorefining for example, can turn biomass into sources of biomaterials, animal and human dietary proteins, novel polymers and compounds, as well as sources of bioenergy in the forms of bioethanol, biodiesel or biogas.
What is Bioenergy?
Bioenergy can be defined as any form of energy that is derived from living organisms, either
plant or animal. It encompasses a wide range of different types and origins. It can take the form of solid, liquid, or gaseous fuel and can be used to provide renewable energy across a variety of sectors including heating, electricity generation and transport sectors.
What are the different forms of Bioenergy?
• Solid biofuels and wood fuels: Wood pellet, woodchip, energy crops, firewood, and biomass briquettes
• Gaseous Biofuels: Biogas and Biomethane
• Liquid Biofuels: Bioethanol, Biodiesel, Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) and Bio-oil
About the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA)
IrBEA was founded in 1999. Its role is to promote the bioenergy industry and to develop this important sector on the island of Ireland. The diverse membership includes farmers and foresters, fuel suppliers, energy development companies, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, engineers, financiers and tax advisers, legal firms, consultants, planners, research organisations, local authorities, education, and advisory bodies – anyone with an interest in the bioenergy industry. IrBEA is recognised by Government and agencies as the voice of the bioenergy industry. The association’s main objectives are to influence policy makers to promote the development of bioenergy, and to promote the interests of members. Improving public awareness, networking, and information sharing, and liaising with similar interest groups are other key areas of work in promoting bioenergy as an environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable energy. Further information on the association is available at www.irbea.org