IrBEA 21st National Bioenergy Conference

 

The IrBEA’s 21st National Bioenergy Conference will take place on Tuesday 11th October at the Lyrath Hotel in Kilkenny. We look forward to welcoming IrBEA members and a diverse range of stakeholders to this event.

This year’s conference will focus on the need to accelerate the uptake of bioenergy technology deployment in Ireland. IrBEA acknowledges that most larger businesses and new start-ups are aware of their responsibilities to be more sustainable and energy efficient. At this year’s conference, IrBEA wants to promote the role bioenergy can play in this transition from fossil fuels, helping businesses reduce costs, improve energy security, reduce supply chain risk, reduce carbon footprints, and improve company sustainability ratings.

We have had consistent attendance over the past 15 years at our conference with over 200 delegates attending this event annually. The event is targeted at a wide range of stakeholders and interested parties including: bioenergy project developers, utility providers, policymakers, political representatives, financiers, large energy users, businesses, engineers, landowners, and environmental groups. Our feedback from previous conferences indicates that attendees value the opportunity to meet those actively involved in the bioenergy sector. To hear about latest developments, successful projects and case studies, in the sector, broaden their knowledge and access further information, network and make new contacts.

Book your delegate ticket and trade stand here

We will also be offering sponsorship opportunities, further details can be found here. If you would like to discuss this further with us, please contact Teresa O’Brien at teresaobrien@irbea.org or Seán Finan at seanfinan@irbea.org

PRESS RELEASE: IrBEA outlines urgency for Government policy to mobilise biogas / biomethane industry at Joint Oireachtas Committee

Immediate Release: 07/07/2022   PRESS RELEASE:

IrBEA outlines urgency for Government policy to mobilise biogas / biomethane industry at Joint Oireachtas Committee

This week at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment and Climate Action, the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) outlined the urgency to introduce policies and supports to mobilise an Irish biomethane industry. Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a proven technology used worldwide at many different scales.

Speaking at the Oireachtas Committee, Seán Finan, CEO of the Irish Bioenergy Association said: “Biogas production from AD technology is mainstream across Europe and worldwide. There are over 20,000 operational AD plants around the EU, and several million across the world. Ireland is far behind its EU counterparts in policy development terms and utilising this technology, with currently approximately 20 AD plants in operation in Ireland.”

In 2017, an EU Commission report titled “An assessment of the potential of biogas from anaerobic digestion in the EU beyond 2020” identifies that the member state with the largest potential for growth of biogas production is Ireland.

Noel Gavigan, Technical Executive at IrBEA said: “Anaerobic digestion complements and delivers on EU policies such as the Farm to Fork strategy. The recent RePowerEU report sets an EU target of 35Billion m3 of Biomethane by 2030. There is a significant opportunity for Ireland to contribute to this and a dedicated Irish AD biogas/biomethane policy is required to maximise the opportunity and potential for Ireland.”

The development of an Irish biomethane industry can present many opportunities for Ireland. The lack of progress in developing an Irish biogas/biomethane industry is a missed opportunity for Ireland’s economy.

Noel Gavigan continued: “This technology can bring many benefits including energy security, de-carbonisation, alternative farm enterprises, reduced emissions from agriculture, enhancing biodiversity, developing the circular and bioeconomy, improved water quality, rural development and job creation.”

The gap between cost of production of biogas / biomethane and the market return has closed in recent times with the increased fossil energy prices.

Seán Finan concluded: “This cost gap must be bridged through Government policy, support, incentives, and measures. Current policy measures such as the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) provide good incentives for solid biomass with significant opportunities to broaden and enhance the existing support for biogas. Planned policy measures like the proposed Renewable Heat Obligation (RHO) must be put in place immediately to encourage rapid transition from fossil fuels to indigenously produced biogas, biomass, and other fuels. IrBEA strongly encourages the Oireachtas committee to promote the immediate launch of this obligation.”

Midlands Bioenergy Development Project in-person launch in Moate

Tuar Ard Arts and Enterprise Centre, Moate, Co Westmeath was the venue for the in-person launch of the Midlands Bioenergy Development Project on 22nd June 2022. The Midlands Bioenergy Development Project is co-ordinated by the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) and co-funded by the National Just Transition Fund for the Midlands region. Minister for Land-use and Biodiversity, Senator Pippa Hackett officiated at the launch and gave the keynote address on behalf of the government. Just Transition Commissioner, Mr Kieran Mulvey, spoke about what the Just Transition seeks to deliver for the region. More localised events will take place around the Midlands in the autumn so that the project can engage directly with potential bioenergy start-up enterprises that could benefit from knowledge transfer, training and mentoring from the project.

From left: Mr Tom Shanahan, Offaly Co Co; Ms Sarah Morgan, Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan; Kieran Mulvey, Just Transition Commissioner; Minister for Land-use and Biodiversity, Senator Pippa Hackett; Mr Paddy Phelan, President, IrBEA; Mr Pádraic Ó hUiginn, Project Executive, Midlands Bioenergy Development Plan, IrBEA; Mr Seán Finan, CEO, IrBEA; Mr Pat Gallagher, CEO, Westmeath Co Co; Noel Gavigan, Technical Executive, IrBEA; and Dr Isabella Donnelly, Regional Coordinator and Westmeath County Mentor, SEAI Sustainable Energy Communities.

 

Launch of New Wood Fuel Quality Assurance animation

This week we see the launch of the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance animation on the sustainability role of wood fuels in forest management. The focus of this three minute animation is the healthy, working forests providing timber, thinnings for wood fuel, carbon sinks, habitats, public amenity & enterprise for Irish communities. We are excited to promote a positive message on Irish forestry and spread the work about the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme. Please take 3 minutes to watch this new animation. It can also be view and shared in YouTube HERE

Press Release: IrBEA welcomes new Midlands Bioenergy Development Project Executive

PRESS RELEASE: IrBEA’s Midlands Bioenergy Development Project welcomes new Project Executive

Immediate Release:  15th March 2022

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) is pleased to announce its appointment of Pádraic Ó hUiginn as Project Executive for its Midlands Bioenergy Development Project.

Seán Finan IrBEA CEO said “On behalf of IrBEA, I’m delighted to welcome Pádraic Ó hUiginn to the association. I wish him the best of luck and every success in his new role. Pádraic brings a wealth of bioeconomy innovation experience. We look forward to working with him at this critical time, as Ireland grapples with the rising costs of fossil fuels, energy security, and the transition to renewables.”

Pádraic Ó hUiginn holds qualifications in economics, regulation, communications, project management and sustainability. He brings a broad range of experience and knowledge to IrBEA and joins at a pivotal time for the renewable energy sector. Pádraic will drive the implementation of the recently commenced Midlands Bioenergy Development Project. Supported by the National Just Transition Fund, this project will provide start-up enterprises in the Midlands region with non-financial support, knowledge, guidance and mentoring to establish successful bioenergy businesses. These businesses will help the Just Transition in the Midlands by providing quality green employment opportunities for a transitioning workforce. Pádraic will also be involved in other projects and work programmes within the association.

Prior to joining IrBEA, he worked for a number of years with tcbb RESOURCE and the Ryan Institute for sustainability and innovation. During that time Pádraic worked on the Causeway project, that introduced the first biomethane into the national gas grid; and Bio-Éire, that informed Ireland’s first National Policy Statement on the Bioeconomy. He has a depth of experience supporting start-ups through BioBase4SME and the EU Regio Star Award-winning Bio Base North-West Europe, and the ReNEW Network, the first circular economy network on the island of Ireland. Pádraic also initiated and developed an EPA-funded research project that analysed the level of joined-up environmental policy in Ireland, sought out examples of best practice, and produced a ‘trip adviser’ guide of ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ for policy-makers and decision-makers.

Pádraic Ó hUiginn said “I am delighted to join the team here at IrBEA. I see in any successful association, that the momentum comes from its members, with the executive staff implementing and coordinating the strategic direction set out by the members and board. IrBEA has a challenging role to promote the entire bioenergy sector, across biomass, biogas, biofuels, biochar, energy crops and wood-fuels. The Midlands Bioenergy Development Project is aimed at supporting a region that has a wealth of energy production know-how across a range of skills. Bioenergy is inherently cross-cutting in that it can support joined-up answers to problems in energy security, job creation, farming, transport, and protecting soil, habitats, air and water.”

Pádraic Ó hUiginn continued “The Climate Action Plan 2021 shows that Government and our public bodies have begun to recognise that to move away from fossil fuels requires a mix of renewables: to meet the different challenges in electricity, heat, and transport. The Midlands Bioenergy Development Project is an excellent initiative to support this transition in a region stretching from East Galway to Kildare, and from Longford and Roscommon to North Tipperary –it can be a leading example for others to follow.”

Ends

For further information please contact Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 0874146480

 

About the Midlands Bioenergy Development Project:

The National Just Transition Fund
The National Just Transition Fund (JTF) is a key pillar of the Government’s plan for the Midlands region. A fund was made available in 2020 to support communities transitioning to a low-carbon economy. The focus is on retraining workers and generating sustainable employment in green enterprise across the region. The objective of the JTF is to facilitate innovative projects that contribute to the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of the Wider Midlands region (including East Galway, Kildare, Laois, Longford, North Tipperary, Offaly, Roscommon, and Westmeath) and have significant employment and enterprise potential. The JTF supports projects that take a whole-of-Midlands strategic approach and complement other sources of public funding.

The Midlands Bioenergy Development Programme
The Midlands Bioenergy Development Programme will provide start-up enterprises in the Midlands region with non-financial support, knowledge, guidance and mentoring to establish successful bioenergy businesses. These businesses will help the Just Transition in the Midlands by providing quality green employment opportunities for a transitioning workforce. The businesses will process indigenous feedstock (grass, wood, energy crops) to produce bioenergy (firewood, wood pellets, biogas, biochar, biooils etc) which will off-set existing fossil fuel usage. The feedstock which will be grown and sourced in the Midlands will stimulate the local rural economy and provide opportunities for primary producers also. This project will deliver a bioenergy knowledge transfer programme in the region on the various bioenergy sector opportunities in biomass production, biogas production, wood fuel and energy crop processing and production and biochar production and usage. This project will link producer, processing business, energy users and investors. The SMEs supported by the project through a mentoring programme will promote economic growth and rural development in the Midlands region. Mentoring and technical advice will be provided by the project team to develop 12 start-up enterprises in the Bioenergy sector in the midlands. This will be the main deliverable of the project

PRESS RELEASE: IrBEA hosts photo launch for the JTF Midlands Bioenergy Development Programme

 

Press Release – Immediate Release 26/01/2022IrBEA hosts photo launch for the JTF Midlands Bioenergy Development Programme
The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) recently complete a launch photograph with Minister of State, Senator Pippa Hackett for its Just Transition Fund (JTF) Project ‘The Midlands Bioenergy Development Programme.’

Speaking at the photo launch, Mr Sean Finan, CEO of IrBEA, said: “We are delighted to complete our photo launch of the IrBEA Just Transition funded Project with Minister Hackett. The Midlands Bioenergy Development Programme has been designed to provide training, mentoring, technical support, and advice to those interested in exploring the development of new bioenergy-based businesses in the midlands. The project will support the establishment of bioenergy businesses and link producers, processing business, energy users and investors.”

Under the National Just Transition Fund, administered by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC), granted projects will seek to develop innovative projects which will lead to economic, environmental, and social sustainability for the Midlands region as it shifts away from the model of peat harvesting and use to a low carbon society with alternative employment opportunities within the catchment areas. The counties that are covered within the Just Transition Programme area and this project are East Galway, Kildare, Laois, Longford, North Tipperary, Offaly, Roscommon, and Westmeath.

Stephen McCormack, Project Executive with IrBEA said “The bioenergy sector encompasses many different possibilities for those looking to develop their own business, reskill and to find new employment opportunities. Bioenergy can be anything from the development of wood fuels such as wood chip, firewood or pellets, the growth of dedicated energy crops and biogas, biofuels, or biochar production. We will be kicking off the project activities in the coming months with a formal launch event and hosting a series of information and awareness events throughout the Midlands region.”

The project will assess the potential feedstocks and energy demand within the various counties of the JTF catchment as well as assessing the skills and training needs of interested parties. The project will design and rollout a knowledge transfer programme through the provision of training, mentoring, technical guidance, and advice for those looking to develop fully fledged bioenergy related businesses.

Finan concluded “Bioenergy is responsible for doing the heavy lifting in terms of all the various renewable energy technologies worldwide. By supporting those looking to transition into this sector, local employment opportunities can be provided. This will help keep the economic activity generated within the locality and more importantly, reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels and improving energy security. We look forward to engaging with former peat and power industry workers, farmers, foresters, SMEs, energy users and individuals within the region as they transition towards a sustainable low carbon energy future.”

To assist in the delivery of the Midlands Bioenergy Development Programme, IrBEA are currently recruiting a Project Executive. Full details can be found on the IrBEA website or via the link:
https://www.irbea.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/4-IrBEA-Project-Executive-Recruitment-Jan-2021-Job-Specification-Updated..pdf

ENDS

For Further Information Please contact Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 0874146480

 

IrBEA launches Transport in Ireland Report: A Pathway to Halving Emissions

Press Release: Immediate Release

Thursday 02/12/2021

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) today publishes “Transport in Ireland: A Pathway to Halving Emissions – Meeting ambitious emissions reduction in Ireland’s Transport sector and the role of Sustainable Bioenergy”. This report was developed by UCC MaREI on behalf of IrBEA.

The report clearly shows that Ireland has a clear pathway to halve its emissions from Transport through the introduction of a combination of policy interventions and measures including electrification, increased biofuels blending, biomethane and driver efficiency measures. There is no single solution to decarbonising our Transport sector but by utilising a combination of different fuels, technologies and driving efficiency measures, emissions from our Transport sector can be halved by 2030.

Speaking at the launch of the report Mr Paddy Phelan, President of IrBEA, said: “This report shows how the renewable transport sector must play a significant part in delivering on the Government’s CO2 emissions reduction ambition set out in the 2021 National Climate Action Plan”.

“This report developed by Dr Paul Deane and his team at UCC MaREI is a call to action for the Government and to recognise the strong role of sustainable bioenergy. Bioenergy including bioliquids (Ethanol, Biodiesel and HVO) and biogas/biomethane, as an indigenous, locally sourced energy source can deliver large emissions reductions across the Transport sector in Ireland”.

The report identifies a diverse range of decarbonisation options and policy interventions required from Government to deliver a 51% reduction in Transport emissions including:

– Delivering on the Government stated ambition of over 940,000 electric vehicles in 2030, avoiding approximately 2 Million Tonnes of CO2.
– Increasing the blend rate of sustainable bioliquids on petrol and diesel (minimum of 10% ethanol and 12% biodiesel) as per the Climate Action Plan avoids an additional 0.4 Million Tonnes of CO2. noting that early action is key to delivering higher cumulative emissions savings.
– Efficiency and behavioural measures that reduce surface transport fuel consumption by 17% by 2030 as per the climate Action Plan 2019 avoids 4.7 Million Tonnes of CO2.
– Targeting 5 TWh of Indigenous Biomethane production (3% of land area) for use in heavy transport avoids approximately 1 Million Tonnes of CO2.
– Targeting 2 TWh of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oils (HVO) avoids approximately 0.4 Million Tonnes of CO2. Note: Sweden increased the blending of HVO with diesel from 0 TWh in 2011 to 14 TWh in 2018.

Report Author, Dr Paul Deane of UCC MaREI, said: “This report provides policy and decision-makers with a roadmap on how we dramatically reduce emissions from our Transport sector through the use of renewable energy resources, having a big impact on addressing our climate challenge.

“The analysis we’ve conducted demonstrates that a 35% renewables in Transport ambition can make a direct contribution to Ireland’s 51% target in greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2030.”

Mr James Cogan, IrBEA Transport Subgroup lead said: “Ireland is in the grip of a severe crisis where transport climate action is concerned. Emissions are actually increasing, halving emissions by 2030 means halving diesel and petrol use by 2030. Solutions need to be acceptable to the public, cost effective and compatible with how people live their lives. Sustainable biofuels already save over half a million tonnes of carbon emissions annually, and that contribution could be doubled or more by 2030.”

Seán Finan, CEO of the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) said: “We are delighted to launch this report and thank Dr Paul Deane and his team at UCC MaREI for their work. We call on Minister Ryan and the Government to adopt and implement the proposals, ambition and measures outlinedin this report. We call for the immediate ramp up of supports, policy interventions for renewable transport and particularly sustainable bioenergy measures. We want to see enhanced Government recognition of the role sustainable bioenergy including bioliquids and biomethane can play to transition the Transport sector away from fossil fuels. The recently published Climate Action Plan has yet to determine measures to remove a further 4 million tonnes of carbon emissions. Increasing the deployment and ambition for bioenergy in Transport through the Biofuels Obligation Scheme is an obvious choice.”

ENDS

For Further Information Please contact Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 0874146480

Notes to Editors:

About the Report:
The report was commissioned by the Irish Bioenergy Association on behalf of its members. The report was funded through sponsorship contributions from IrBEA, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, Ethanol Europe, Green Biofuels Ireland, Green Generation and 3 Counties Energy Agency.

Some Key numbers in the Report:

– In 2020, biofuel delivered an 84% reduction in carbon on a per energy unit basic compared to fossil fuels.
– Biofuels make up 5% of total road energy consumption in 2020.
– Biofuels avoided approximately 520,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2020.
– Sustainable biofuels make up 98% of renewable energy in Transport in Ireland. The remaining 2% is electricity.
– Less than 1% of consumption in road transport were from crop based fuels. The EU average is 4%.
– 68% of all biofuels in Ireland are from used cooking oil while 15% were from animal fats (Tallow).
– 33% of raw materials to make biofuels were imported from China with 14% of raw materials sourced from Ireland
– SEAI estimates that Bioenergy potential equals 30% of the energy use today.
– All fuels met sustainability requirements in accordance with the Biofuels Obligation Scheme.
– Sustainable bioliquids are cost competitive.
– The current cost per unit of carbon avoided is €250 – €350 per tonne of CO2 for battery electric vehicles and higher for Plug in Hybrids compared to estimates of values between €110 – €280 per tonne of carbon avoided for bioliquids and biomethane.
– Renewable energy in Transport should increase from 4% today to 35% in 2030 to deliver government ambition.
– Indigenous biomethane is an untapped resource that can reduce emissions in transport by 1 million tonnes while advancing emissions reduction in both agriculture and land use.
– In Ireland, over 35 billion kilometres were driven by private cars in 2018.

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. The organisation is a self-governing association of voluntary members and is affiliated to Bioenergy Europe and the European Biogas Association (EBA). The organisations activities are managed by the CEO assisted by a small executive staff team and is governed by a board of Directors which includes an elected President and Vice President. Policy direction is provided by a Management Executive Committee and specific subcommittees. Further information on the association is available at www.irbea.org

PRESS RELEASE: CAP Strategic Plan must contain provision for Bioenergy measures – IrBEA

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) highlighted in its recent consultation response, the need for the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) Strategic Plan to contain provision for Bioenergy measures.

For Immediate Release: 22/09/2021
Seán Finan, CEO at IrBEA said “the Bioenergy sector has a significant role to play in addressing some of the key challenges and opportunities that farmers, foresters and the broader agricultural industry face. This should be recognised in the drafting of the Irish CAP Strategic Plan. Bioenergy has a considerable role to play in decarbonisation and the emissions reduction efforts of agriculture through development and mobilisation of energy crop, biomass and biogas industries. The sector can drive improvement in water quality through the use of biochar as a filter media. Biochar can also be used as a soil and slurry enhancer and  animal feed additive. Biogas as a fuel can decarbonise heating and vehicles. Chemical fertiliser can be displaced with digestate from biogas production. Wood fuel production through the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance (WFQA) scheme is currently providing a market for thinning material as part of sustainable forest management.”

The CAP Strategic Plan should facilitate the development of various aspects of Bioenergy through the following measures:

European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI) Operational Groups: Enhance, develop and increase the budgetary allocation from the current provision for the further growth of the European Innovation Partnership Project model. IrBEA is the lead partner on a current EIP project called the “Small Biogas Demonstration Programme” which is investigating the deployment of small scale biogas facilities on farms. This form of research and development is important to bring together a range of interested parties including farmers, technical specialists and researchers to find innovative and practical solutions to common issues at farm level.

Knowledge Transfer Programme: IrBEA would like to see flexibility within the design of the proposed Knowledge Transfer Programme to accommodate Bioenergy based focused Knowledge Transfer groups. These groups could comprise of farmers, foresters and technical advisors covering such area as: energy crops, wood fuels, biogas development and forestry etc.

On-farm Capital Investment SchemeConsider broadening the proposed Capital Investment Scheme to potentially facilitate Forester, Farmers and Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’S) who would like to develop infrastructure such as drying sheds, chipping equipment and weighing equipment to process and mobilise wood fuels from the private forestry estate, biomass crops and energy crops.

Finan concluded “inclusion of provision for bioenergy in the CAP Strategic Plan measures would be a positive development for the sector. It would recognise the significant role  that the bioenergy sector has to play in the decarbonisation and emissions reduction efforts of farming and the broader agriculture industry. We look forward to engaging with the Minister and Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine officials to discuss the role of bioenergy in delivering on the overall CAP Strategic Plan objectives.”

ENDS

For Further Information Please contact Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 0874146480

Webinar 25: Outlining the Proposed Renewable Heat Obligation Scheme – The role of Bioenergy

TOPIC OVERVIEW

The Department of Environment Climate and Communications have published a consultation on the proposed Renewable Heat Obligation Scheme (RHOS) to support the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. This webinar outlined the main proposals within the proposed scheme and the role of bioenergy in meeting the obligation. The RHOS will mandate heating fuel suppliers to include a portion of renewable fuels in the fuel mix, starting at 0.5% and moving to 3% by 2030. Renewable fuel suppliers will be able to sell fuel or certificates to the fossil fuel suppliers – thus incentivising renewable heating. We anticipate that the RHOS will operate in a similar way to the Biofuel Obligation Scheme which has been operating for over 10 years. Noel Gavigan outlined the proposed framework detailed in the current public consultation and how it will impact the market and consumers.

LIVE RECORDING HERE

SPEAKERS

Noel Gavigan IrBEA Technical Director

Seán Finan IrBEA CEO (Chair)