IrBEA CEO Seán Finan and Wood Fuel Quality Assurance committee chairman Eugene Hendrick met with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air emissions officials recently to discuss the IrBEA proposals to regulate the moisture content of firewood for sale in Ireland. This meeting was part of an ongoing lobbying campaign for the introduction of regulations by the Department of the Environment in this area. The IrBEA proposal which have been developed in consultation with WFQA member wood fuel suppliers is very important to improve the standard and quality of wood fuels on the market and reduce particulate emissions from wood fuels at a domestic level. Research clearly articulates that there is a direct correlation between wet wood fuels and high particulate emissions. Particulate emissions are dramatically reduced from the burning of dry wood fuels. IrBEA will continue its lobbying efforts in this area for the introduction of regulation on phased basis over a specific timeframe. Full details of the IrBEA proposals are available HERE.
Bioenergy – Inspiring the industry with opportunity and vision is the theme of the Irish Bioenergy Association National Bioenergy conference which is sponsored by Bord an Móna and takes place in Croke Park today. The conference focuses on the untapped potential that Bioenergy presents in the form of biomass, biogas, biofuels, energy crops and wood fuels to achieve renewable energy targets in heat, transport and electricity.
Speaking at the conference Seán Finan CEO of IrBEA said “Mobilising Irish indigenous biomass and brash is crucial to achieving our Renewable Energy targets in both the electricity and heating sector. Addressing the challenges of mobilisation of our private forestry estate will need to be overcome. Bord na Móna, our conference premium sponsors is pleased to be helping unlock the biomass opportunity in Ireland as an outlet for material while helping to decarbonise Ireland’s electricity grid.
The Renewable Heat agenda will be served by improving access to Irish biomass supplies, enabled by improvements to the biomass supply chain infrastructure from mobilisation of the Private Forestry supply and also the promotion of Energy Crops.
Tom Egan Head of Bioenergy Operations and Power Generation at Bord na Móna said “ Bord na Móna are leaders in the Irish biomass industry, and on an exciting transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy at its Edenderry Power Station in Co, Offaly. Edenderry Power is on a course towards 100% renewable electricity generation by as soon as 2024. The biomass contribution at Edenderry makes it the biggest supplier of ‘on-demand’ renewable energy on the island of Ireland. This means that when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine Edenderry can guarantee a supply of renewable energy to the grid; this adds flexibility to the grid to install more wind and solar generation.
Tom Egan concluded “Edenderry Power continues to transition towards ever increasing levels of biomass, which is sustainable, and 80% of which is indigenous from local Irish suppliers. This helps Bord na Móna continue to drive the economic and growth agenda in rural Ireland, the midlands and beyond -supporting what are sustainable jobs, sourcing sustainable Irish biomass feedstocks over the ‘Just Transition’ period and beyond. Bord na Móna uses mainly residual forest material (brash). Bord na Móna wants to secure increasing indigenous biomass from the well documented availability from private forestry and also want to help realise the energy crop opportunity that exists for farmers.
The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) is working on a Sustainability Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) RD&D Project to develop a Biomass Designers and Installers Register. In 2019, IrBEA ran 2 successful Biomass Practitioners courses in February and July. The courses focusing on the key aspects of design and installation of biomass heating systems. We are now seeking attendees for the next training course on the Tuesday 18th & Wednesday 19th of February which will take place at a DCU Innovation Centre, Finglas Road, Dublin 11. Places are limited, so book now to avoid disappointment. If you are interested in participating please contact IrBEA CEO Seán Finan at email@example.com or 087-4146480.
Background to this Project
Members have reported that some commercial biomass installations over the years have not functioned correctly and have been turned off. There are a multitude of reasons for systems not working including poor design, incorrect installations, incorrect fuels used or poor maintenance of the system. IrBEA’s objective is to create a register of competent and professional Biomass Designers and Installers who have demonstrated a level of experience, have undertaken the training course and who fulfil certain criteria.
What is the Benefit of the Biomass Designers and Installers Registers?
The Biomass Designers and Installers Register are two separate registers of companies who specialize in the design and/or installation of Biomass Heating Systems. The register will act as a useful reference point for heat users who wish to employ a competent biomass system designer or installer.
Biomass Practitioners Training Course
The 2-day Biomass Practitioners Training course is a mandatory requirement for inclusion on both Biomass Installers and Designers register. The course is presented by industry expert David Palmer. David is an experienced specialist with extensive expertise and knowledge in the design and installation of biomass heating systems. The aim of this course is to refresh designers and installers and improve participants knowledge of design and install of biomass heating systems. To find out more please contact IrBEA CEO Seán Finan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 087-4146480.
The Irish BioEnergy Association (IrBEA) and the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme notes with great concern press reports today that the government may be considering a nationwide ban on burning all solid fuels to solve air quality and emissions issues regardless of their individual potential. IrBEA are objecting to wood fuels being potentially treated in the same way as fossil fuels, and essentially being tarred with the same brush. Wood fuels are an essential part in assisting Ireland reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and transiting to a low carbon economy. Properly dried and combusted, wood fuel is an environmentally safe fuel. Our organisation is specifically focused on developing wood fuels for their considerable benefits in terms of reduction of greenhouse gases and for providing a cost-effective and sustainable source of heating and efficient combined heat and power. IrBEA through the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme is specifically focused on developing quality wood fuels for consumers. Wood Fuels contribute added benefits in terms of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions when compared to fossil fuels while providing a cost-effective and sustainable source of heating and efficient combined heat and power.
Noel Gavigan, Technical Executive with the Irish Bioenergy Association and Manager of the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme states “we unquestionably must look to reducing all emissions of particulate matter and CO2, wood fuel offers over 90% reduction in greenhouse gases over fossil fuels. By only using properly dried wood fuels we can immediately reduce any particulate emissions to one third, further to this by using better technology such as enclosed stoves and now EU certified Ecodesign stoves, emissions are reduced by 89%.”
With the government proposal to consider a ban on using all solid fuels we would essentially remove Irelands potential to use its own natural resource. The state and private land owners have heavily invested in establishing forests, an investment that is provides valuable wood products for use in the Irish economy, in wood fuels, board products, and sawn timber and in other uses.
Gavigan concluded “Earlier this year we submitted a detailed, evidence-based proposal to the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment on talking the issue of totally unsuitable wet firewood being placed on the market and the implications this has for air pollution, and the heating value of wood fuel. The submission was followed up in a further communication in early October.
IrBEA has set a number of key recommendations to the department on the regulation of firewood for sale in Ireland. Specifically, we are calling for legislation to ban the retail sale of firewood with moisture content above 20% by the year 2022, with an interim limit of 25% by September 2020. We see this as a first and critical step to reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, particulates and nitrous oxides.”
Technical Notes to Editors
Wood fuel quality is critical to ensuring low emissions and high efficiency. The EU/ISO standard for firewood sets a limit of 25% moisture content for A1 firewood. It is well recognised and tested that wet domestic wood fuels produce high emissions of particulates and NOx, while at the same time giving little heat to the consumer. Firewood at 20% moisture content produces less than 33% of the emissions of wood fuel at 30% moisture content in older stoves, while in modern Eco-Design stoves the emission levels are reduced by almost 90%.
According to SEAI figures wood fuels produce as little as 3.2g CO2 per MJ heat, comparing this to gas which produces 56.9g, kerosene which produces 73.3g and heat pumps today which produce anything from 19g to 52g depending on the amount of wind on the electrical system. No other heating source can produce heat on demand with such a minimal impact on CO2 emissions.
About the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme (WFQA)
The Wood Fuel Quality Assurance (WFQA) scheme for Ireland is an all island scheme established to increase consumer confidence in wood fuel products sold in Ireland. The WFQA administered by IrBEA independently certifies and verifies suppliers of firewood, wood pellets, woodchip and wood briquettes. All certification is carried out against EN ISO 17225 standards for biomass fuels. The WFQA currently certifies 25 suppliers and engages in workshops and open days to promote the use of properly produced wood fuels. We welcome queries from the general public seeking to know more about using wood fuels and in identifying the correct type of fuel to use. Further details can be found at www.wfqa.org
About the Irish BioEnergy Association (IrBEA)
IrBEA was founded in May 1999. Its role is to promote the bioenergy industry and to develop this important sector on the island of Ireland. The organisation is a self-governing non-profit association of voluntary members. Our 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. Governance and strategic oversight are provided by Board of Directors and a Management Committee, with support from a small Executive Team. IrBEA is affiliated to BioEnergy Europe and the European Biogas Association (EBA).
For further information please contact
Noel Gavigan, IrBEA Technical Executive & WFQA Programme Manager
IrBEA in partnership with valued member Ethanol Europe recently organised a one day conference on the topic “Bioenergy for Climate Action in Transport”. The event took place in the Clayton Hotel Ballsbridge in late October. Conference delegates heard from a diverse and varied line up of speakers who highlighted and discussed the role that Bioenergy can play in addressing Climate Action in Transport. IrBEA would like to thank our Management Executive Committee member James Cogan for all his work, help and assistance in organising this successful event. Pictured are speakers at the recent “Bioenergy for Climate Action in Transport” event. Back L to R Barry Caslin Teagasc, Fintan Conway, Ilaria Stretti IGW, Eddie Punch ICSA, Tony Hennebry Green Biofuels Ireland. Front Row L to R Seán Finan IrBEA, Michael Mc Bennett Farmer and Founding member of IrBEA and james Cogan Ethanol Europe.
Press Release: Immediate Release
Biogas Can Addresses Ireland’s Declared Climate Emergency with Government Policy and Action Now
The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) and Cré – Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland recently launch their joint policy document calling for a biogas support scheme titled “Mobilising an Irish Biogas Industry with Policy and Action”. This document developed following consultation with members and key stakeholders in the sector, sets out a road map for how the government target of 1.6Twh of biomethane by 2030 can be achieved on a phased basis over the next number of years. The document provides the Irish government with an industry roadmap for the role out of a meaningful Irish biogas industry. This document addresses the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action call for a strategy to be developed for anaerobic digestion and also the Government Climate Action Plan action on biomethane injection. This policy document articulates a vision from the industry and outlines the key principles which will need to be followed for the growth and development of a successful Irish biogas industry. Read more
The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) welcomes the publication last week of the Climate Action Plan. IrBEA articulates that the renewable energy targets set out in the plan in terms of heat and biomethane will only be realised if backed with significant financial supports.
Speaking on Friday at a technical workshop on the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) Des O’Toole, IrBEA President & Coillte Market Development Manager said “Overall, sustainably produced biomass will play a key role in Ireland’s transition from a fossil-fuel based economy to a low carbon economy. The SSRH unlocks great potential to provide energy savings and carbon emissions reductions by lowering energy costs for Irish industry, it ensures these businesses remain competitive in a global environment”
IrBEA also launched the IrBEA Biomass Heating Systems Designers and Installers Register, IrBEA CEO Seán Finan said “Bioenergy as a fully dispatchable renewable energy technology can assist in achieving our Renewable Energy targets across all three areas of electricity, heat and transport. For bioenergy to become mainstream, meaningful government supports will be required”
Finan continued “Industry feedback following publication of the Climate Action plan suggests that the plan ‘over-emphasises’ the part electricity will play. IrBEA fully support the target of 70% renewable electricity by 2030. However, electricity is less than one third of our primary energy usage and we cannot expect to decarbonise the economy without addressing heat and transport decarbonisation also. Bioenergy is ideally place to assist in this effort with heat and transport. The potential for use of highly efficient biomass boilers and renewable biogas boilers in domestic houses cannot be overlooked in favour of heat pumps. Biomass systems need to form part of the technology mix to be used in domestic installations”
Noel Gavigan IrBEA executive concluded “ our SSRH Technical workshop today heard calls for the return of the energy crop establishment support scheme to ensure that Irish indigenous energy crops and short rotation coppices are incentivised to assist in satisfying the market needs for biomass which the SSRH will generate. Growing these crops will also assist in the decarbonisation of agriculture and also support rural jobs and economic activity. Attendees acknowledged the importance of competent designers and installers of biomass heating systems as well as quality feedstock certified by the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme (WFQA) as key components for the success of the SSRH scheme”
The Irish Bioenergy Association would like to thank the speakers who gave their time and expertise to this event and all the participants who attended, in excess of 150. If you would like to view the presentations or photos from the day, click here: Presentations Photos
Release Date: 21 June 2019
Seán Finan IrBEA CEO presented at an SEAI Workshop in Galway on the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat. Seán discussed the opportunities available for reducing your heating bill and increase sustainable opportunities for your business or public sector organisation with Biomass Heating. These half day conferences were aimed at owners/managers of medium sized businesses or organisations with an appetite to cut cost, open opportunities and support local jobs. Included in the picture are Gearóid Dorchaí (Údarás na Gaeltachta), Denis Dineen (SEAI), PJ McLoughlin (SEAI), Seamus Rooney (Ricardo) and Mark Kenny (Biomass Engineering).
IrBEA and the Western Development Commissions are Irish Partners on the Interreg EU REDIRECT project. Sean Finan and Teresa O’Brien from IrBEA had 3 productive days in Baden-Baden last week, a partners meeting took place on the Monday where all partners reported on developments and work done under the RE-DIRECT project in their jurisdiction.
On the second day 80 participants including several Irish companies visited a Pyreg plant in Baden-Baden – Eigenbetrieb Umwelttechnik. This plant has heat contracts with municipal consumers of bioenergy and biofuels with public buildings such as schools and libraries. The partner is responsible for the treatment of organic waste and the waste water treatment of the city of Baden-Baden.
This plant acts as a depot for the delivery of all organic waste and storage for the town. In this facility pre-treated green waste – timber, chip, roadside cuttings, manure, and garden waste from the surrounding municipality is processed using IFBB technology, the technology is aimed to develop an environmentally-friendly biofuel production by using green cuttings and waste water. It’s a working model of a circular economy by focusing on utilising abandoned urban, natural and agricultural areas for biomass and by being processed produces fuel, electricity, heat and biochar for water filtration.
Pyreg Plant in Baden Baden – The second picture shows the pipe feeding activated carbon
with reactor in the background.
80 attend the visit to the Pyreg Unit in Baden Baden the first picture shows the Pyreg
process with the steps mapped & outputs of activated carbon, gas, heat and electricity shown
The German partners – Eigenbetrieb Umwelttechnik have successful built this biochar plant with the support of EU Interreg projects like COMBINE and now RE-DIRECT, delegates last week had a chance to see this plant up and running with an engineer talking through the processes at work.
The goal of the RE-DIRECT project is to convert 20.000t of unused biomass into carbon products. Activated carbon and biochar can be used for many things – alternative feed-stock for products in agricultural, waste-water, health and care product industries. In this case Germany requires tight regulations in the purification water plants primarily for the reduction of pharmaceutical residue in the water, so this plant produces high grade activated carbon which is used in the water filtration system of the town’s water supply located next to the facility.
The third day was followed by a conference – Smart Use of Biomass for Alternative Carbon Products We had strong speakers from the University of Kassel, Dr Michael Wachendorf who elaborated on the RE-DIRECT project and Dr Frank Hensgen spoke about the technical feasibility and ecological sustainability of developing a market for activated carbon and biochar. Dr Nikolas Hageman from Ithaka Institute which is a centre for collaboration on all things that are carbon related spoke about finding carbon intelligent solutions, the Institute is known for its expertise in production, post-production treatment and use of biochar. The Irish Partners – Western Development Commission were represented by Clodagh Barry who spoke about the economic investment potential in the region of Ireland. The day was wrapped up with discussion groups around building markets and developing awareness, all in all it was a productive few days of knowledge sharing and network building, certainly our Irish delegates who came to the conference seemed to feel they got a lot out of the event both in terms of meeting people and understanding the market place.
Pictured at the recently organised Interreg NW EU REDIRECT Project 2 day Partners meeting, Conference and site visit organised by the German partners of the RE-DIRECT Project – Q2. Back Row L to R – Sean Finan (IrBEA CEO) Peter Layden (Arigna Fuels) Bernard Carey (Loughderg Charcoal) Stephen McCormack (Western Development Commission) Maria O’Connell (Mayo County Council) Robert Johnson (Arigna Fuels), Louis Ward (Ward Agricultural Consultants) Front Row L to R – Clodagh Barry (Western Development Commission) Savithri Senaratne (Hydros) Teresa O’Brien (IrBEA) Louise Ward (Ward Agricultural Consultants