IrBEA identified a knowledge and skills gap around sustainability criteria and life cycle assessment (LCA) of bioenergy supply chains among its’ industry members and sector stakeholders. The association is particularly interested in the potential impacts for solid and gaseous biomass projects of major changes under the recast Renewable Energy Directive (RED). IrBEA received funding under the SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland) RDD programme to help address that need for specialised training and knowledge dissemination.

Biomass may be considered to be carbon neutral, as the carbon it contains and which is released when burnt, has recently been absorbed from the atmosphere and so it is part of the global cycle of biogenic carbon and has no overall effect on the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide in circulation. However, bioenergy, derived from biomass, cannot be assumed to be carbon neutral. In developing new policies and assessing the environmental impact of existing and emerging bioenergy pathways, it is necessary to assess the GHG emissions using an appropriate LCA method to support policy decisions. See the link here to the report titled ‘Guidance on Sustainability Analysis of Irish Bioenergy Pathways using Life Cycle Assessment Methods’  Authors include Tom Bruton, Ann Evans & Ger Devlin.