Webinar 19: Sustainable bioenergy – Update from Brussels on a fast changing legislative framework

This webinar focused on the latest policy developments in Brussels regarding Bioenergy including the REDII Directive and the Biodiversity Strategy. It outlined the key findings in the recently published JRC Biomass Report “The use of woody biomass for energy production in the EU” and the review of the Taxonomy Directive.
There was a discussion on the growth of the anti-combustion and anti-bioenergy lobby at a Brussels and an EU level. Webinar participants will also hear about the Lobbying and Advocacy activities of Bioenergy Europe on behalf of the Industry.

View Live Recording of Presentation here

Webinar Speaker
Giulia Cancian

Policy Director at Bioenergy Europe. Giulia Cancian joined the association in 2018. She is responsible for the work of the Advocacy department and sustainability related files. Giulia holds a MA in International Relation from the University of Rome and a MSc in European Affairs from the Free University of Brussels. Before joining Bioenergy Europe, she gained experience on sustainability and energy with the biodiesel, non-ferrous metals and hydropower European trade associations in Brussels.

Webinar No 18: Green Generation – An organisation harnessing the circular economy to decarbonise Ireland

Green Generation based at Nurney, Co Kildare have been delivering for the Circular Bioeconomy by generating energy from waste for a number of years. This rural enterprise uses Anaerobic Digestion (AD) technology to convert food production waste and farm waste into renewable biogas. This biogas is upgraded to biomethane to produce electricity, heat and transport fuel. In partnership with Paltech, Green Generation are now meeting the global plastics problem head on with patented plastics technology. Teresa Patton, Program Manager at Green Generation talked about the company’s circular economy, their facilities in Kildare and the future developments for the company.

LIVE PRESENTATION HERE

Webinar Speaker
Teresa Patton
Program Manager, Green Generation

 

Teresa is a recent MBA graduate at T.U. Dublin and has a varied professional background having qualified with a BA in Interior Architecture. She travelled extensively through the South Pacific and UK in the 2000s, and returned to Ireland in 2012 to continue her career in the speciality F&B industry.

Upon near completion of her MBA, Teresa started with Green Generation as their Program Manager. Her role entails engaging with an array of organisations, both in FMCG and non food sector, in order to reduce their food waste, while implementing a circular economy by using food waste to produce clean, renewable energy.

IrBEA Panellists
Seán Finan (Chair)
IrBEA CEO

Noel Gavigan
IrBEA Technical Executive

Billy Costello
Green Generation

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.

An updated proposal from IrBEA to regulate the moisture content of firewood for sale in Ireland

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) has previously submitted an outline proposal to the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment for the regulation by the Department of the moisture content of firewood for sale for domestic combustion. This document updates the previous proposal and suggests a pathway and timeline for regulation of the moisture content of firewood for sale.
The objectives of the proposal to regulate the moisture content of firewood for sale are:

  • To contribute to improving air quality in Ireland in the context of the developing Clean air
    Strategy, the recent EPA report Air Quality in Ireland 20181, and the CAFE Directive, and
  • To enable the continued use of sustainable firewood fuel in domestic heating as a replacement
    for fossil fuel and thereby contribute to climate change mitigation.

Read the full document here

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

IrBEA responds to consultation on the Draft National Air Pollution Control Programme

IrBEA responded to the Department of Environment, Climate Action and Communication  consultation on the draft National Air Pollution Control Programme (NAPCP) before the January 22nd deadline. The main points raised in the IrBEA response were as follows:

  • The draft NAPCP recognises proposals for roll out of a large number of heat pumps in domestic homes over the next decade. IrBEA highlighted that heat pumps will only be able to partially decarbonise our economy considering the cost of retrofit, availability of labour and age profile / energy efficiency of the housing stock across the country.
  • The decarbonisation of heat will need to include wood fuel systems in domestic houses, particularly in larger and older houses and those in rural areas.
  • Less than half of Irelands heating requirements are at temperatures suitable for heat pumps.
  • Any heating above 60OC will need to be decarbonised using a technology other than a heat pumps and bioenergy has a major part to play at all temperatures.
  • The use of properly designed appliances for wood fuels have a dramatic impact on particulate emissions
  • The draft NAPCP notes that solid fuels have traditionally been a source of particulate matter. In the report, it notes that from 1990 to 2018, air quality control measures have resulted in a reduction of particulate matter from residential heating by 73%. It noted that in the same period of time all other sources have reduced their emissions by approximately 30%.
  • To date firewood is not regulated and the market contains large quantities of wet firewood.
  • We highlighted that IrBEA is calling for the regulation of firewood to ensure that only dry firewood is sold on the market. We envisage significant reductions of emissions if firewood is regulated.
  • The draft NAPCP includes additional measures. IrBEA noted that the measures listed do not include some measures which have a significant impact in reducing particulate matter and other harmful emissions to air from solid fuel combustion. We propose that additional measures include:
  1. Regulation of wood fuels in Ireland to meet European standards.
  2. Regulation of firewood ensuring that no firewood may be placed for sale where the moisture content is above 20%.
  3. Regulations ensuring that only Eco-design appliances may be offered for sale in Ireland.
  • Specifically, we noted that section 4.2.2.3 listed wood as a major source of harmful emissions. We propose that this be altered to describe wet or unseasoned wood as being the major source of harmful emissions. We ask that the document recognise the positive aspects of properly dried wood fuel on air emissions.
  • We noted that fossil gas fuel is described in the document as a clean fuel. While in terms of localised air emissions fossil gas may be considered “clean”, we propose that the document recognises that fossil gas is not clean in the global context neither in terms of its point of extraction nor in terms of its overall impact on the climate
  • We object to the document proposing that fossil gas be considered as an ongoing or future solution to air emissions.

For further details on the IrBEA submission please contact IrBEA Technical Executive, Noel Gavigan at noelgavigan@irbea.org.

Full submission can be found 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.

View the live recording of the Presentation here

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.

 

Press Release: IrBEA meets Minister Ryan to set out the bioenergy priorities for 2021

For Immediate Release
20/01/2021

IrBEA meets Minister Ryan to set out the bioenergy priorities for 2021

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) met with Minister for Transport, Environment, Climate and Communication Networks, Eamon Ryan T.D. in recent days. The IrBEA representatives outlined the current work programme of the Association and priorities for 2021. At the meeting, Minister Ryan reaffirmed the Governments ambition to decarbonise the Irish Energy system by reducing emissions by 7% per annum surpassing EU targets.

Paddy Phelan, CEO of the Three Counties Energy Agency and President of IrBEA said “IrBEA members are identified as key to providing sustainable solutions to deliver this ambitious 7% target. The role of Bioenergy is clear in reducing emissions in agriculture, electricity, heat and transport. Bioenergy also supports rural development, rural enterprise and jobs and provides clean energy through local supply chains. Land use planning is crucial in the development of indigenous sustainable bioenergy resources from the existing forestry estate and opportunities for other measures such as agroforestry, energy crops and biogas to reduce emissions across the energy sectors”.

The impact of delays in the forestry licensing system was highlighted during the meeting. Timber, Energy and the growth of the Bioeconomy are all key deliverables of a thriving Forest sector.

Maurice Ryan, Director at Greenbelt and IrBEA Vice President said “the continuing delays in licensing from the Forest Service is severely impacting the forest sector. Forestry has huge potential and a very important role to play in supporting the agriculture industry in reducing our emissions. Forestry delivers timber, energy and for the bioeconomy. Forestry can promote biodiversity and land use improvement. These are mutually important topics and need to be part of future discussions.”

The failure to achieve 2020 renewable energy targets was acknowledgement at the meeting. It was noted that investing the 50 million euro fine paid by the Irish taxpayer for not achieving Renewable Heat target since 2010 would have been better invested over the years in Renewable Heat supports which promoted sustainable local biomass supply chains for supply of renewable fuel.

Seán Finan CEO of IrBEA said “Growth in Bioenergy needs to be recognised as one of the key climate actions to deliver sustainable clean energy for heat, transport and electricity that compliments jobs and enterprise through local value chains replacing imported fossil fuels.  Lack of supports historically for Bioenergy has resulted in failed renewable energy target delivery in Ireland.  In IrBEA, we will work with Minister Ryan, his department and SEAI to assist in the delivery of the challenging renewable energy targets for 2030 and always highlight the key role that Bioenergy has in this regard. Bioenergy has many socio-economic benefits locally and regionally which justify the need to invest in the required supports for Biomass, Biogas and Biofuels instead of buying the Renewable Energy credits from other EU members states”.

Paddy Phelan IrBEA President concluded “I was encouraged by the commitment from the Minister to the Climate Targets for 2030 and highlighting the role IrBEA members have in decarbonising the heat, electricity and transport sector in Ireland through increased use of Bioenergy including Biomass, Biogas and Biofuels. Lack of supports historically in heat and transport resulted in failed renewable heat target delivery in 2020.  The revised EU Emissions targets of 55% reduction by 2030 is key and IrBEA will be collaborating with the Minister, his Department and the SEAI in the development of the revised National Climate Action Plan in 2021.”

Ends

For Further information please contact Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 087-4146480

Notes to Editors:
The main items discussed at the meeting included:

  • SSRH: Need for full roll out of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) in 2021 now that project inspections and payments have commenced by SEAI in late 2020.
  • Biomethane Support Scheme: Potential for a support scheme for Biomethane injection was discussed with the Minister but no positive indication was given by the Minister whether there would be a support or not in the future. The Minister cited concerns regarding biodiversity, potential increased use of chemical fertilizer and further intensification of agriculture associated with a medium to large scale biomethane industry. IrBEA highlighted that our policy paper “Mobilising an Irish Biogas Industry with Policy and Action” (Reference[1]) developed jointly with our partners Industry partners Cré addresses Minister Ryan’s concerns.
  • Farm scale Biogas: IrBEA briefed the Minister on the work of the Association through our Department of Agriculture funded European Innovation Partnership project to demonstrate the potential for small scale farm based Anaerobic Digestion plants on Irish farms.
  • Dry Wood Fuels: The campaign by IrBEA for the introduction of regulation of the moisture content of firewood for sale to address air emissions issues was positively received by the Minister.
  • Heat Plan: The development of a Heat Plan for Ireland through Renewable Energy Ireland which IrBEA is a member of was highlighted. The role of bioenergy to decarbonise heat at all temperature ranges and across all sectors was emphasised. The example of Danone Milk Powder Plant in Wexford was cited as a great example of local woodchip supply chains meeting climate targets and for its achievement in being certification as the first carbon neutral baby formula plant in the world using local wood fuel biomass. (Reference [2])
  • Transport Plan: IrBEA outlined its proposal to develop a plan for decarbonisation of the transport sector which will be ready for publication in Q2 2021.
  • Forest Sector: The impact of delays in the forestry licensing system and impact was highlighted.

References:

  1. https://www.irbea.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/IrBEA-Cre-Biogas-Policy-Paper-Final_1.pdf
  2. https://www.danone.com/stories/articles-list/danone-wexford-becoming-the-first-carbon-neutral-baby-formula-plant-in-the-world.html

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