Report from Biochar & Activated Carbon Conference


The Irish BioEnergy Association (IrBEA) and the Western Development Commission (WDC) are the Irish partners in the Interreg North West European project called RE-DIRECT . This project  supports turning waste, low value or residual biomass into high value carbon products such as Biochar and Activated Carbon.
As part of the project, IrBEA and the WDC hosted a conference recently in Claremorris around the areas of biochar and activated carbon and the potential they could hold for the region. The event brought 70 attendees from around Ireland and across Europe including international experts as well as regional and national stakeholders. Sean Finan, CEO of the Irish Bioenergy Association said, ‘we want to highlight the potential that biochar holds for agriculture, how an indigenous source of activated carbon could help improve our water quality as well as how biomass can be utilised for carbon sequestration and energy purposes.’
The vision is to establish regional hubs where biomass from the surrounding areas can be converted into biochar or activated carbon. These are charcoal-like materials that are very porous with large internal surface areas and a high capacity to absorb contaminants. This makes them useful for a wide variety of applications ranging from waste water treatment to soil amendment and remediation, to gas cleaning. The innovative pyrolysis technology used can also produce a clean renewable fuel.
Press from the Event – Turning Low Value Biomass into High Value Activated Carbon
The 11 project partners from RE-DIRECT are from Belgium, UK, France, Wales, Germany and Ireland. This technology has been developed at a pilot site at the Baden-Baden City’s Environmental Division in Germany and under this project a 20,000 t/year plant will be built to assist the filtration of the municipal water. In Wales last week a IFBB (integrated generation of solid fuel and biogas from biomass) plant has arrived from Scotland and delivered to our Welsh Partners at Cwn Harry Trust to be installed on their farm site.

Danish Bioenergy Delegation hosted in Ireland by Danish Embassy, IrBEA & 3CEA

IrBEA along with Deloitte invited personnel from the Bioenergy sector to an early morning breakfast briefing recently. Participants received information on funding opportunities for research and also funding for renewable energy project developments. Speakers included Pat Martin – Department of Communications Climate Action & Environment who talked about the Life Funding Programme,   Brian McDonnell from Deloitte discussed the primary RD&I funding available in Ireland including tax incentives and grants and Joanne Sheehan from Enterprise Ireland  also spoke and focused on  Enterprise Ireland funding opportunities. This event was well attended and was useful to companies planning or involved in innovative projects who wished to learn more about potential research and development funding options and efficient taxation management.  The presentations can be viewed here

IrBEA Continues to Lobby for the Opening of the Full SSRH Scheme

IrBEA CEO Seán Finan recently met informally with the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton T.D. He briefed the Minister on the work of IrBEA and the urgent need to fully open the SSRH scheme. This informal meeting following a formal meeting on the SSRH scheme which took place recently between IrBEA and senior officials from the Heat policy division within the Department of Communication, Climate Action and Environment. This meeting was attended by Sean Finan CEO, Des O’Toole President and Paddy Phelan Vice President. The Department confirmed at the meeting that they expect to open the full SSRH scheme by the end of the year. IrBEA continues to lobby at all levels for the full opening of the SSRH scheme.

Presentations from Bioenergy Funding Breakfast Briefing

IrBEA along with Deloitte invited personnel from the Bioenergy sector to an early morning breakfast briefing recently. Participants received information on funding opportunities for research and also funding for renewable energy project developments. Speakers included Pat Martin – Department of Communications Climate Action & Environment who talked about the Life Funding Programme,   Brian McDonnell from Deloitte discussed the primary RD&I funding available in Ireland including tax incentives and grants and Joanne Sheehan from Enterprise Ireland  also spoke and focused on  Enterprise Ireland funding opportunities. This event was well attended and was useful to companies planning or involved in innovative projects who wished to learn more about potential research and development funding options and efficient taxation management.  The presentations can be viewed here

County Wexford Leads the way in Utilising Wood Energy

Members can read an interesting report by Donal Magner in the Farmers Journal on IrBEA’s recent field-trip to Wexford to view industries in the area who switched their energy needs from oil to wood. From this report, we we can see that the switch to biomass has been successful for these businesses both from an economic and an environmental perspective. At Horeswood depot in Campile, Co Wexford Matt Wallace has managed to reduce his annual energy bill from €600,000 to €350,000. A major factor in the success of these business is  guaranteeing security of local supply and the creation of wood supply depots. On the trip we visited,  Clonroche Biomass Supply Depot, the largest depot in the country supplying 30,000m3 . Read more about this IRBEA tour here

PRESS RELEASE: IrBEA Welcomes Statement from Minister Richard Bruton T.D. on the Potential for Renewable Energy

PRESS RELEASE
Bioenergy sector offers unlimited potential in addressing climate change challenges – IrBEA

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) released a press release this week welcoming the statement made on Climate Change by Minister for Communication, Climate Change and Environment Richard Bruton T.D. but are disappointed that it lacks specifics and a focus on the potential for renewable energy in addressing climate change. Climate action is not only a challenge but also a considerable opportunity for Ireland to become a leader in this space. We are in real danger of losing our green image with the  lack of action over the past 15 years.  Many long term plans and targets have been set for 2008, 2012, 2015, 2020, 2030 and now 2040. IrBEA empowers Minister Bruton to show progress on  emissions targets within his own ministerial timeframe. 
Read more

Press Release Representing Renewable Energy Associations of Ireland

Eight organisations representing renewable energy in Ireland united today to call on Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten TD to set a target to supply 70 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2030.

In June 2018 the European Union agreed that 32 per cent of the EU’s energy – across electricity, heat and transport – will come from renewables by 2030. Ireland’s share of that target will be negotiated with the EU in the coming months.

A comprehensive report from leading energy and utilities experts Baringa says it is technically possible and cost neutral to the consumer for Ireland to use renewable energy to supply 70 per cent of our electricity by 2030, which would go a long way towards reaching the EU target. A summary of the report can be found here.

It follows confirmation from the Climate Change Advisory Council in July that Ireland will miss its overall 2020 target for renewable energy, warnings from the Environmental Protection Agency highlighting the failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and comes as the International Panel on Climate Change meets in Korea.

In September the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action began meeting to respond to the calls from the Citizens’ Assembly earlier this year for Ireland to become a leader in tackling climate change.

Currently, approximately 30 per cent of Irish electricity comes from renewables and while Ireland will fall short of its overall 2020 target it is expected to still reach its 40 per cent electricity target.  

           Speakers: Dr John Fitzgerald (Climate Change Advisory Council), Des O’Toole (IrBEA President),

Marie Donnelly (Former Directorate General for Energy), Michael McCarthy (CEO of ISEA), Dr David Connolly (CEO of IWEA)

Read more

IrBEA and WDC invite you to a Biochar and Activated Carbon Conference in Mayo on 25th October

The Irish Bioenergy Association and the Western Development Commission invites you to a Biochar and Activated Carbon Conference in Mayo on the 25th October. This event will build understanding, raise awareness and help showcase the potential for carbon. Visiting partners from the RE-DIRECT project will present on installed technology at two sites in Germany and Wales.

This event is free but you do need to register for the conference. There is also an opportunity to join a Networking Dinner where you will meet with Conference Speakers and RE-DIRECT Partners, the cost is €40.00. Register for both here

For further information contact Stephen at stephenmccormack@wdc.ie

Conference Agenda

New CEO Appointed to IrBEA

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) is delighted to announce that Seán Finan has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of the Association.

Des O’Toole IrBEA President said “On behalf of IrBEA, I’m delighted to welcome Seán Finan to the Association. I wish him the best of luck and every success in his new role. Sean brings with him a wealth of experience and I believe he will show strong leadership to the organisation at this pivotal juncture as Ireland transitions to renewables away from fossil fuels”

Seán Finan is a Chartered Engineer with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering B.E. (Hons) Degree from National University of Ireland, Galway. He also holds a Certificate in Agriculture and farms part time. He brings a broad range of experience and knowledge to IrBEA having various positions and roles within many community, voluntary, representative and statutory organisations at a local, national and European level over the years.

Prior to joining IrBEA, he has over 12 years engineering and management experience with John Sisk & Son (Holding) Ltd and took a two-year secondment from Sisk between 2015 and 2017 to complete a successful term as the 35th National President of Macra na Feirme – the young farmers’ representative organisation.

Finan said “I relish the challenge and opportunity which leading IrBEA presents. I look forward to working with the board, executive committee, membership and executive staff in taking the organisation through its next phase of growth and development. The organisation has an invaluable and key strategic role to play in representing and advocating for the bioenergy sector on the island of Ireland against a backdrop and dealing with challenges such as climate change, emissions reduction and the provision of more renewable energy sources into the future. In my role as CEO of IrBEA, I will work with all stakeholders to ensure a sustainable future in bioenergy and to strategically position bioenergy to play a significant role in Ireland’s Sustainability Renewable Energy Roadmap”.
                                                                             Sean Finan here on the right with Des O’Toole (IrBEA President), Teresa O’Brien(Communications Manager)
                                                      & Noel Gavigan (IrBEA Executive) at the Press Launch of ‘Our Energy Vision’,  a report supported by 8 renewable energy agencies in Ireland