Webinar 17 – Running a successful bioenergy business in rural Ireland – The Cotter Bros story

This webinar showcases the Cotter Brother’s story and how they have developed a successful firewood business in rural Ireland. ‘Cotter Bros Firewood’ are a member of the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme (WFQA) and are selling quality, certified wood products to a growing market in the Midwest. Nick Cotter presents on the future challenges and opportunities for firewood and bioenergy. He talked about how their firewood business has developed and how they are now exploring other opportunities to grow their business and contribute to the development of the rural economy in the area.

LIVE PRESENTATION HERE

Webinar Speaker

Nick Cotter

Nick started up the ‘Cotter Bros Firewood’ business with his brother Jack when they were 11 and 13 respectively. Nick is now a student of Law and Business at University College Cork, he has recently started his third company with his brother Jack, Cotter Agritech. Their Cotter Crate lamb handling system won ‘Best Agri-Engineering Start-up’ and the Alfred Cox Founder’s Perpetual Trophy for the ‘Best Overall Start-up’ at the 2019 Enterprise Ireland Innovation Awards at the Ploughing Championships. Nick and Jack also won the 2019 Engineers Ireland Student Innovator of the Year Award. They are now both working on bringing these new innovations to market as well and continually driving the firewood business.

Webinar 16: Biochar – Addressing the Climate & Environmental Challenges

Recent years have seen a surge in interest in what is now commonly known as biochar.
Biochar is a carbon rich solid material produced by thermally converting biomass in a low oxygen environment.

In this webinar, we looked at some of the basics behind biochar, at questions such as:

• What is it?
• How is it made?
• What can it be used for?
• How can it aid in addressing the climate and environmental challenges?

Biochar is of particular interest to the following sectors:
• Agriculture, forestry and the farming community (soil amendments, animal feed additives, slurry additives, biofertiliser)
• Waste water management (filtration medium)
• Horticulture (growing medium, peat replacement, soil additives)
• Bioenergy sector (biomass fuels, AD plants)
• Construction industry (asphalt)

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Webinar Speaker

Stephen McCormack 

THREE C Project Officer, IrBEA


Stephen McCormack is the THREE C Project Officer with IrBEA. He has a degree in Environmental Science from IT Sligo and is currently undertaking his Masters in Environmental Sustainability through University College Dublin. He joined the team at IrBEA in 2020, having previously worked alongside them in his role as Project Officer with the Western Development Commission on the RE-DIRECT project, a transnational Interreg North West Europe project that looked at the viability of establishing indigenous biochar and activated carbon production from under-utilised biomass resources. Now working on the follow on project, THREE C (Creating the Carbon Circular Economy), he is tasked with engaging with the growing number of stakeholders looking to further the development of the sector here in Ireland.

LIVE PRESENTATION HERE

Webinar 15: Showcasing Europe’s most advanced Irish owned biorefinery

ClonBio Group Ltd: A snapshot of an Irish led company at the centre of the European bioeconomy: origins, path taken so far and future developments. ClonBio was founded in 2008, was operating a major biorefinery in Hungary by 2010 and has gone on to become Europe’s most dynamic bioeconomy investor.

Webinar Speaker

James Cogan
ClonBio Group Ltd

James is an industry and policy analyst at ClonBio Group Ltd.  He expertise is on EU climate, innovation and economic development policy. He is currently working to support the introduction of climate friendly E10 petrol in Ireland. He is a member of the Private Sector Mechanism of the UN Committee on Food Security. He represented the world Climate Ethanol Alliance as partner to the UNFCCC at COP24 in Katowice in 2018 and COP25 in Madrid in 2019. He has worked for the European Commission and its partners on innovation finance and innovation project development.

You can view the live recording of the Presentation here

Webinar 14: Addressing Air Quality concerns using dry wood fuel

Recent concerns around domestic fireplaces and stoves and their impact on air quality have enhanced calls to ban smoky fuels and promote the use of dry wood fuel. This webinar focuses on presenting the IrBEA proposals to regulate wood fuels as a mechanism to eliminate wet wood from the marketplace to address air quality issues. This webinar gives stakeholders an opportunity to get a better understanding of the link between air quality and moisture content of wood. Air emissions can be dramatically reduced by using the correct fuel and by using properly designed Eco-design stoves.
View the live recording of Presentation here

Webinar 13: The value of Ireland’s private forests – timber, energy and the bioeconomy

As Ireland’s private forestry assets continue to mature, their importance is increasing. The supply dynamics into the future see the balance shifting to a more even spread between Coillte and the private estate. This makes the current status within the Forest Service and the stalling of licence approvals being authorised even more critical and impacts future timber supply and overall confidence in the industry. Listen to Maurice Ryan from Greenbelt discuss the implications for his business.

View live presentation here

WEBINAR 12: The role of Bioenergy meeting the global decarbonisation challenge

Bioenergy is the worlds largest source of renewable energy, bioenergy provides a total of 13% of global energy supply while all other renewables provide a combined 4.8%. Across the world and Europe the use of bioenergy is expanding considerably, with installations of biomass boilers in Germany and Austria doubling in recent years, and France installing over 100,000 pellets stoves per year. Christian Rakos, President of the World Bioenergy Association discussed in this webinar the expanding use of bioenergy as a clean efficient fuel, and its importance in the future energy mix. He looked at where Ireland can further develop this sector based on our own native fuel sources, and how this expansion can effectively contribute to decarbonising our energy sector while protecting our natural environment and air quality.

View the live Presentation here

 

Speaker
Dr Christian Rakos
President at the World Biogas Association

Dr Rakos has spent all of his professional life working in the renewable energy sector. First at the Institute for Technology Assessment at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, then at the Austrian Energy Agency and finally as Managing Director of the Austrian Pellet Association (proPellets Austria). Early this year he was appointed President of the World Bioenergy Association. Dr Rakos was also the founding President of the European Pellet Council (EPC) which is part of Bioenergy Europe. He is active on the board of the Austrian Biomass Association (ABA) and the Umbrella Association for Renewable Energy Austria.

IRBEA Panellists
Noel Gavigan (Chair)
Technical Executive IrBEA

Seán Finan
CEO IrBEA

WEBINAR 11: Biogas – An update from a European perspective

This webinar addressed the latest developments in the biogas sector across Europe. The Irish Bioenergy Association is a member of the European Biogas Association (EBA) and their representative, Harmen Dekker discussed in this webinar the work of the EBA including a discussion of Biomethane market developments across Europe, the latest policy developments at a Brussels level and the important role of biogas / biomethane in decarbonising heat, electricity and transport across Europe.

View the live Webinar presentation here and the Presentation slides here

Speaker
Harmen Dekker
Director at the European Biogas Association

Harmen Dekker has worked for almost 15 years within the sustainability sector and is devoted to the mitigation of climate change. He has built his career in the water and gas sector, where he has held different management positions. He joins the EBA after 5 years of service at DMT Environmental Technology. As manager for business development, he worked on the expansion of the biogas sector in new geographic regions. During those years, he also focused on the implementation of new techniques for valorising biogas, such as bio-LNG. These responsibilities included the analysis of future opportunities to produce bio-methanol and bioplastics.

IRBEA Panellists
Seán Finan
CEO IrBEA

Noel Gavigan
Technical Executive IrBEA

Webinar 10: Digestate from Biogas as a Biofertiliser

The circular economy is complemented by  Anaerobic Digestion (AD) through the efficient recycling of valuable nutrients from organic wastes like farm manures and food waste.  This recycling is vital to ensure the long term sustainability of Irish agriculture. In this webinar, we will explore how biogas plants, using AD technology in addition to producing renewable energy in the form of biogas, also recycles these resources and nutrients and produces digestate. Our guest speaker, Stephen Nolan from Green Generation outlined some of the latest developments in the recycling process and the resulting production of a biofertiliser or digestate from the AD process. Stephen completed his studies with NUIG and Teagasc researching nutrient recovery and the positive effects of AD in reducing pathogens and reducing emissions of nutrients to watercourses through the use of digestate rather than raw slurry.

View the live Webinar presentation here and the Presentation slides here

Speaker
Stephen Nolan
General Manager and Agri-Environmentalist Specialist at Green Generation

IRBEA Panellists
Seán Finan
CEO IrBEA

Noel Gavigan
Technical Executive IrBEA

Webinar 9: Potential for small scale AD on Irish Farms

Farm scale biogas plants present a unique opportunity for farms to produce renewable energy, deal with on farm wastes, convert these wastes into enhanced nutrient sources for crops, while at the same time lessoning emissions of nutrients to water courses and pollutants such as methane and ammonia to air. In this webinar IrBEA will focus on the potential for farm scale biogas plants on Irish dairy, beef, pig and poultry farms. IrBEA in conjunction with Teagasc are currently working on a European Innovation Partnership project to investigate and demonstrate this potential for Irish agriculture. Speakers Sean Finan and Noel Gavigan were joined by Tim Clarke a biogas expert with many decades experience incorporating biogas plants onto farms.

View the live Webinar presentation here and the Presentation slides here

Speakers
Seán Finan
IrBEA CEO Seán Finan is the Chief Executive Officer with IrBEA, he is a Chartered Engineer and holds a Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Hons) Degree from National University of Ireland, Galway. 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 (2015 – 2017) to complete the full-time elected role as 35th National President of Macra na Feirme – the young farmers’ representative organisation. Seán’s key role is to lead IrBEA and its members to develop the Bioenergy sector in Ireland. He is also directly involved in IrBEA projects and takes a lead role in the EIP Small Biogas Demonstration Project and the Interreg NWE REDIRECT Project.

Noel Gavigan
IrBEA Technical Executive
Noel Gavigan is the Executive Officer for IrBEA since 2010, his main role is project delivery and technical backup for members. Noel has worked on some of IrBEA’s main projects including the Biomass Trade Centres, Biogas3, EIP Small Biogas Demonstration Project and Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Certification Scheme.

Tim Clarke
Biogas Consultant
Tim Clarke has many years and vast experience as a consultant in the Biogas industry in Ireland, the UK and beyond. He has been involved in the development of Biogas plants from design, planning, construction and operation. Tim providing consultancy services to IrBEA on the European Innovation Partnership Small Biogas Demonstration Project and will share his insights into this scale of plant on this webinar.

Webinar No 8: Policies and Actions required to mobilise a large scale Irish Biogas Industry

This webinar explored the opportunities and benefits of a mainstream Irish Biogas Industry and discussed the various policies and actions required to mobilise the industry. In 2019, The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) and The Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland (Cré) launched their joint policy document calling for a biogas support scheme. This policy document articulated a vision from the industry and outlined the key principles which were needed to be followed for the growth and development of a successful Irish biogas industry. On this webinar we discussed the policies and actions that are required to ensure this industry develops in Ireland which is mainstream in many other European countries.

View the live Webinar presentation here and the Presentation slides here

Speakers

Seán Finan
IrBEA CEO

Seán Finan is the Chief Executive Officer with IrBEA, he is a Chartered Engineer and holds a Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Hons) Degree from National University of Ireland, Galway. 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 (2015 – 2017) to complete the full-time elected role as 35th National President of Macra na Feirme – the young farmers’ representative organisation. Seán’s key role is to lead IrBEA and its members to develop the Bioenergy sector in Ireland. He is also directly involved in IrBEA projects and takes a lead role in the EIP Small Biogas Demonstration Project and the Interreg NWE REDIRECT Project.

Noel Gavigan
Technical Executive, IrBEA
Noel Gavigan is the Executive Officer for IrBEA since 2010, his main role is project delivery and technical backup for members. Noel has worked on some of IrBEA’s main projects including the Biomass Trade Centres, Biogas3, EIP Small Biogas Demonstration Project and Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Certification Scheme.

Percy Foster
CEO of Cré (Composting & Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland)
Established in 2001, Cré is the Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland. They are a non-profit association dedicated to growing the biological treatment sector. Cré supports the production of high-quality outputs, assists the delivery of Government waste diversion and bioenergy targets, and promotes the creation of sustainable indigenous jobs. Cré actively participates in policy working groups and acts as a forum to interested parties to discuss all aspects of composting and anaerobic digestion in Ireland.