Webinar 44: Launching the Interreg Cascade project and updates from the Irish biochar sector

Dear webinar participants and IrBEA members,
A live recording of webinar 44 is available here.

Topic Overview
At this webinar, IrBEA launched the Interreg Northwest Europe Cascade project and presented updates on the development of the Irish biochar sector. The CASCADE (Circular Conversion Cascades to Transform Residual Biomass to Carbon Products) project promotes the transition to a circular and resource efficient economy. Our previous projects have demonstrated the successful conversion of substantial amounts of waste biomasses into biochar. This process serves as a sustainable alternative to fossil coal and peat, resulting in the creation of CO2-negative products and value chains. Building upon these achievements, our current project aims to further expand Biomass-to-Biochar production and value chains. IrBEA will introduce, manage, and optimize these chains across seven European pilot regions, encompassing urban, rural, and peri-urban areas. Donegal has been selected as one of our pilot regions. Watch this webinar to find out more about this project and to stay updated on the latest developments in the Irish Biochar sector

Webinar MC: Seán Finan, IrBEA CEO
Presenter: Stephen McCormack, IrBEA Project Executive

Webinar 43: Explaining Specified Biomass Harvesting: Realising the Biomass opportunity

A live recording of webinar 43 is available here.

Topic Overview
At this webinar, the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) launched a document on Specified Biomass Harvesting (SBH). This document was developed by IrBEA with contributions from members, associated organisations and stakeholders. Specified Biomass harvesting (brash harvesting) can provide a significant biomass and renewable energy resource opportunity. This resource arises from a sensitive approach to harvesting the forest without adversely impacting the future productivity of the forest, local ecosystems or environment. Ireland’s forestry resource has the potential to provide large volumes of by-product material for energy use through SBH during thinning and harvesting operations. This by-product material, in addition to the harvesting of timber and pulp products, is usually derived from the side branches and tops of the trees. This webinar focused on the importance of the SBH harvesting approach and the future productivity of the forest, local ecosystems and water courses.

Webinar MC: Seán Finan – IrBEA CEO
Presenter: Noel Gavigan IrBEA Technical Executive
Eugene Hendrick, Joint author of Specified Biomass Harvesting (SBH) document.
Kenneth Worrell, Managing Director, Worrell Harvesting
Donal Whelan, Technical Director, Irish Timber Growers Association

Update on IrBEA’s visit in January to the Bio360 Expo in Nantes

The Bio360 Expo running in January this year was an event focused on bioenergy, renewable carbon and the bioeconomy held this January. For the first time, IrBEA helped secure an Irish Pavilion at this prestigious event in Nantes, France. We hosted Irish companies Arigna Fuels and Celignis Biomass Lab, along with European Partners, Blinc Inc., who coordinates the Interreg NW European projects of THREE C Creating The Circular Carbon Economy and more recently, CASCADE project, both of which the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) has been a partner in.

It was imperative for IrBEA to have a presence at this event and promote the bioenergy sector in Ireland to delegates from around the world. We made numerous contacts and garnered interest from companies both in Europe and globally, who were interested in bioenergy developments in Ireland.

Conor Layden, Commercial Director at Arigna Fuels Ltd delivered an excellent presentation on the company’s transition from smokeless coal to biochar for biocoal. Following his presentation, there was a notable surge in visitors to the Irish pavilion stand, eager to discuss Arigna Fuels journey with Conor.

Dan Hayes, CEO of Celignis Biomass Lab, also delivered a powerful presentation on the panel for Sustainable Aviation Fuels. Celignis an Irish company in Limerick Ireland, specializes in providing analytical services for the biomass and biofuel industries, assisting clients in understanding the composition of their biomass feedstocks, crucial for efficient conversion processes such as biofuel production.

Tim Scholze chairman at blinc eG, is the German partner who presented on the panel, ‘Biochar Horizons: exploring new frontiers.’ Tim gave a comprehensive update on the different Interreg NWE projects: Prograss, Combine, REDIRECT, THREE C and now CASCADE, these projects have helped build a robust circular biochar industry across Europe.

During the event, we had the opportunity to meet with journalists from Bioenergy International – Alan Sherrard and Dorota Natucka-Persson who took pictures and discussed future articles profiling Irish businesses. Additionally, we engaged with Fiona McAteer from LeBruin, a corporate finance company that has already invested in the sector and was at Bio360 Expo seeking to network with other innovative businesses. We will be touch with everyone who came to the Irish Pavilion and to IrBEA’s trade stand. If you want to follow up with us, please do not hesitate to contact Teresa O’Brien at teresaobrien@irbea.org and Stephen McCormack at stephenmccormack@irbea.org.

PRESS RELEASE: IrBEA is attending the Bio360 Expo in Nantes this week

For Immediate Release:
22nd  January 2024

Following participation in 2023’s Bio360 Expo, the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) will be hosting an Irish Pavilion at this years event, taking place this week on the 24th – 25th of January in Nantes, France.

The Bio360 Expo has run for the past number of years and brings together stakeholders from around the world to share, showcase and discuss the activities that are taking place as part of the bio transition.

With a focus on renewable carbon, renewable bioenergy and the emerging bioeconomy, the event itself runs over the course of 2 days where attendees and exhibitors alike can network, present and participate in cutting edge topics and discussions all centred around the sustainable use of biomass, across a variety of sectors.

IrBEA will host an Irish pavilion (stand D15) where they will represent its members and the bioenergy sector in Ireland. IrBEA will be joined by two members – Arigna Fuels and Celignis Analytical, who will showcase their offerings to an international audience. Also joining the Irish pavilion will be IrBEA’s transnational Interreg North West Europe project partners from the THREE C and CASCADE projects, which focus on developing biochar based systems, products and services.

On Wednesday morning Seán Finan, IrBEA CEO will be taking part in the morning session titled, ‘Realizing the European vision: Linking policies and practices at supra, national and regional levels‘. He will be joined by Patrice Lejeune & Guillaume Loir, Methatlantique, Giulia Cancian, European Biogas Association, Luis Puchades, Spanish Biogas Association and Philippe Henry, Pays de la Loire Region.

Seán Finan, IrBEA CEO said: “I look forward to speaking at the event on Wednesday, where the opportunities for biomethane in Europe and Ireland will be discussed. This is significant given that the Irish government’s Biomethane Strategy publication is anticipated. The Bio360 Expo presents a unique opportunity to gain insights into the dynamic and expanding bioenergy sector in Europe, offering valuable knowledge that can contribute to growing and developing the Irish sector.”

Full details of the event can be found: https://www.bio360expo.com/

THREE C & CASCADE project video available : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaOL_AU14LY

PRESS RELEASE: IrBEA welcomes the recognition of Biochar and BECCS in Ireland’s draft Climate Action Plan 2024

For Immediate Release:

12th January 2024

Following extensive lobbying and advocacy by the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) and its members over recent years, the Climate Action Plan published by the Government in December 2023, contains for the first-time recognition of the role of both biochar and bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS) as carbon removal measures.

Stephen McCormack, Project Executive with IrBEA said: “We are delighted to finally see reference to biochar and the potential role it can play in delivering on our shared climate action ambitions. IrBEA and its members acknowledge that biochar production and use, from biomass, can sequester carbon, but also has the ability to be used within a whole host of sectors including environmental applications, the bioeconomy, agriculture, horticulture, bioenergy (heat and electricity) production as well as biomaterials to name a few. While the mention of biochar is welcomed in the draft climate action plan, this may be viewed as a first step, and one which will require further policy development, research and support.”

IrBEA, as the representative body for the biochar industry in Ireland, has a growing number of members involved in this emerging sector – everyone from biomass suppliers, technology providers and installers, consultants, research bodies and analytics, producers and users. IrBEA has also participated in a series of successive Interreg Northwest Europe (NWE) funded projects. Through these projects knowledge transfer and product development ideas have been rolled out in collaboration with international partners, giving valuable insight into the role biochar can play. The latest of these, the CASCADE project, will see IrBEA work with industry stakeholders to further develop biochar application scenarios within the pilot region of County Donegal, where the emphasis will be on agricultural, horticultural and environmental applications of biochar.

Sean Finan, CEO of IrBEA stated that “The draft climate action plan acknowledges the potential role that biochar and bioenergy carbon capture and storage technology can play in carbon removals including the bioeconomy. We welcome the possibility of these technologies being utilised to address unallocated savings as updated carbon budgets are calculated for the second half of the decade. Key industry stakeholders have advocated for years how biochar production is one of most cost effective “safe, scalable and shovel ready” methods of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies at our disposal where the carbon sequestered is widely recognised as having a good level of permanence. The production of biochar using pyrolysis technology is a valuable source of bioenergy (heat and electricity) and the resultant biochar can be used in a wide variety of sectors really adds to its attractiveness as a tool for fighting climate change.”

2023 was a turning point for biochar here in Ireland. IrBEA hosted a very successful Biochar and Carbon Products conference in May. In addition, several prominent and high-profile biochar related speakers presented at IrBEA’s National Bioenergy conference in October. Recently, IrBEA developed a feasibility study to explore sustainable management of agricultural green waste in Ireland on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and this report identified biochar production and use, as one of several feasible, viable and sustainable alternatives to burning agricultural green waste. 2023 also saw biochar’s inclusion in carbon farming discussions at both a national and European level.

Seán Finan concluded “Biochar’s inclusion in the draft Climate Action Plan is a positive step and – having first been identified by the Intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) as far back as 2018 as one of the promising negative emissions technologies (NET) capable of Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) at scale.”

Stephen McCormack concluded: “2024 is set to be an exciting year for the development of the emerging biochar sector here in Ireland. Arigna Fuels in Co. Roscommon will commission their new production plant, which will mean Ireland will be home to one of the largest biochar production capacities in Europe. There are numerous other production plants in various stages of commissioning or planning, with technologies being developed at differing scales of production and sophistication. There has been an obvious increase in awareness and recognition of biochar’s potential across various Government departments, research bodies and industry. We look forward to continuing to work with our members, including our dedicated Biochar and Carbon Products working group, alongside other stakeholders to further develop the sector and see its position as a CDR strategy strengthened.”


Webinar 42: EBA statistical report 2023: Highlighting the rapid growth in European biomethane production

A live recording of webinar 42 is available here.

Topic overview
Mieke Decorte, European Biogas Association (EBA) Technical and Project Manager presented today on the main findings from the recently published EBA statistical report 2023, titled ‘Tracking biogas and biomethane deployment across Europe.’

Biomethane production in Europe increased by 20% in 2022 compared to the previous year. Total European biogas production reached 21 billion cubic metres in 2022. If you did not manage  to join the webinar today, you can catch up here, watch the live recording and receive an update on developments in the sector and  all the European biogas / biomethane markets.


Mieke Decorte is a Technical and Project Manager at the European Biogas Association since 2021, while she joined the association in 2018. Mieke manages and coordinates the technical and project work within the EBA and supports EBA’s policy and communication work with technical knowledge and data. Her main responsibilities include coordinating EBA’s involvement in Horizon Europe and other programs and overseeing the EBA’s technical publications such as the EBA Statistical Report and the European Biomethane Map. Mieke has earned technical and market knowledge on the biogas sector with her work at the Flanders Biogas Association. She graduated in 2016 as a Bioengineer at UGhent with a specialization in environmental technology.

Noel Gavigan
IrBEA Technical Executive
Seán Finan

Bioenergy – Brazil and Ireland, strengthening ties and sharing knowledge

Information Seminar on the 23rd of November at the Westbury hotel in Dublin.

Bioenergy plays a fundamental role in decarbonising the world economy and speeding up the global energy transition, by providing a renewable source of energy that can substantially reduce the use of fossil fuels.

Ireland has legally mandated emissions reductions targets and is on a trajectory to increase renewable energy generation in the next decade. The key to this is the development of the bioenergy sector. Ireland can learn from other countries who have a mainstream bioenergy industry. Brazil is an example of this with biomethane, biofuels and biomass positioned as crucial fuels to decarbonise their economy.

Despite already possessing one of the cleanest energy mixes in the world, Brazil is moving forward on hydrogen and other low carbon intensity technologies, such as biomass and biofuels. The country is fast developing its potential to produce biogas, particularly biomethane. Ireland, with a target of 5.7 TWh of biomethane by 2030, can learn from the Brazilian experience on how to mobilise the sector.

This seminar presents a platform for discussion and welcomes policymakers, technology providers, project developers, industry experts and entrepreneurs in the bioenergy sector from both Brazil and Ireland. We would like to focus on the common challenges and potential for cooperation between the two countries.

Full agenda and speaker line-up here.

Register here

Invitation to the Midlands Bioenergy Development Project Information Seminar Series 2023 – Tullamore Event (Friday 24th November)

Information roadshow – Business opportunities in bioenergy

Are you curious about bioenergy?

What is bioenergy? The sector covers solid biomass (woodfuels), liquid biofuels, biogas/biomethane, energy crops, and biochar.

Perhaps you are looking to upskill or diversify, move to a renewable fuel, start a new business or product line or looking at the options available to you?

Why not join us at this free event to find out more.

Registration is required to attend click the link here

Free business mentoring programme

The National Just Transition Fund supported Midlands Bioenergy Development Project delivered by the Irish Bioenergy Association is offering a business mentoring programme in the form of non-financial and technical support to start-ups and existing businesses seeking to diversify, switch fuels and/or start a new bioenergy business. You can learn more about this project and how to express interest in this free business mentoring programme at:



  • Introduction to Bioenergy (sectors and fuels)
  • Explaining the National JTF Midlands Bioenergy Development Project (MBDP) and opportunity to get involved in the free business mentoring programme.
  • Update on the bioenergy feedstock and energy users’ analysis reports completed for the midland’s region.
  • Update on the supports available for solid biomass and biogas through the SEAI’s Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH).
  • Industry updates on the policy and developments in the biomethane/biogas, biomass, and biochar sectors.
  • Open discussion and Q&A.

These information roadshows events and mentoring programme are being organised under the auspices of the National Just Transition funded Midlands Bioenergy Development Programme.

Press Release: Ireland must immediately activate Bioenergy’s essential role in emissions reduction and achieving renewable energy targets

Pictured here: L to R Padraig Fleming, Biomethane Programme Manager at Gas Networks Ireland (GNI), Shannon Oldfield, Events Manager, Gas Network Ireland, Seán Finan, IrBEA CEO, Minister Eamon Ryan T.D., Leader of the Green Party and Minister for Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, Paddy Phelan, IrBEA President & CEO Southeast Energy Agency, Brendan Kelly, Head of Commercial at Bord na Móna Renewable Energy.

IrBEA’s 22nd National Bioenergy Conference took place last week (Thursday 12th of October) at the Royal Marine Hotel, Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin.

Bioenergy is the largest source of renewable energy globally. Today’s national bioenergy conference is focusing on the need to accelerate the uptake of bioenergy’s recognition in both policy and technology deployment in Ireland.  Solid biomass, biogas/biomethane, liquid biofuels and biochar all have a significant role to play in a broader mix of technology and fuelling options to reduce emissions and promote a transition to renewable energy.

Paddy Phelan, Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) President and CEO of the Southeast Energy Agency said: “We need all renewable technologies and renewable fuels to be deployed as part of a broad renewable energy policy in Ireland. The conference title ‘Bioenergy’s essential role in emissions reduction and the energy transition’ is very appropriate in the current environment of a climate crisis and worries about energy security. IrBEA members have the technologies and fuelling solutions which will address all those concerns.”

Phelan continued “Our pursuit of renewable energy, specifically bioenergy, stands at a crossroads in Ireland. We must address policy gaps and foster wider adoption to ensure that all sectors can participate in carbon neutrality, Environmental, Sustainability and Governance (ESG) excellence, and insulation from energy price volatility. Together, we can overcome challenges and seize the opportunities presented by bioenergy to create a greener, more sustainable, and resilient Ireland for future generations.”

Bord na Móna and Gas Networks Ireland (GNI) are the co- sponsors of the 22nd national bioenergy conference. Bord na Móna has plans to deploy a wide range of renewable energy generation. Specifically in bioenergy this includes 100% biomass use at Edenderry Power limited and the development of biomethane production capacity. Gas Networks Ireland is actively engaged in encouraging the development of an indigenous biomethane industry here.

From 2024 onwards, Bord na Móna’s Edenderry Power Plant will operate off 100% biomass. This shows the potential of bioenergy and how it can help Ireland transition from fossil fuels to low carbon, renewable energy generation. By 2024, Bord na Móna’s Edenderry Power Plant will be supplying 100% renewable electricity to the national grid. As a dispatchable plant, this will help support the national grid when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine. It will also stabilise the national grid and enable more MW of intermittent renewable energy (such as wind and solar) to be brought onto the system to help Ireland achieve its Climate goals. Upwards of 80% of the Biomass material used at Bord na Móna’s Edenderry Power Plant is supplied by Irish suppliers. The company’s focus is on maximizing indigenous biomass supplies in the coming years. Bord na Móna only sources sustainable biomass meeting the strict criteria outlined in the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive. Bord na Móna’s biomass requirement provides a significant socio-economic benefit to rural Irish communities.

Brendan Kelly, Commercial Manager, Bord na Móna Renewable Energy said: “Bord na Móna is delighted to co-sponsor the 2023 IrBEA National Bioenergy Conference which highlights the critical role Bioenergy is playing and will continue to play in Ireland’s drive towards Net Zero. Leveraging biomass as a carbon-neutral energy source through its Edenderry Power Plant forms an important part of Bord na Móna’s climate solutions offering.  Edenderry Power Plant will operate off 100% biomass from January 2024, assisting Ireland meet its vital climate action targets. We welcome the ambition of IrBEA and the wider industry in looking to play an even bigger role in helping Ireland reach its Climate Action Plan targets.”

A Biomethane Energy Report has been compiled and published by Gas Networks Ireland based upon Request for Information (RFI) responses and outlines the development of the gas network to prepare for increased biomethane connections and injection.

Key facts and figures from the Gas Networks Ireland Biomethane Energy Report:

  • 176 prospective producer responses received
  • in volume terms, responses total to 14.8 TWh annual production
  • Median plant production capacity is 40 GWh per annum
  • Median distance from producers to the gas network is 5km
  • Emissions reductions from 14.8 TWh of biomethane of 3.94 Mt CO2 eq per annum by 2030

Padraig Fleming, Biomethane Programme Manager at Gas Networks Ireland said “Gas Networks Ireland is delighted to co-sponsor the 2023 IrBEA National Bioenergy Conference. The RFI response in terms of production volumes is more than two and a half times that of Ireland’s stated ambition of 5.7 TWh of biomethane production by 2030.  Responses, both in number and volume terms, serve to underline the robustness of the Government’s 2030 biomethane ambition. Furthermore, analysis of current domestic consumption of natural gas relative to the estimates for the national biomethane production potential in 2030 from the RFI indicates that 26% of total gas demand could be met by biomethane.”

Fleming continued “Biomethane is one of the renewable gases of the future and is available today to decarbonise the energy system.  Ireland has a real opportunity to develop a biomethane industry at scale, which will offer numerous benefits for our agricultural industry, the decarbonisation of our economy and the development of a key indigenous energy resource in the coming years.”

Seán Finan, Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) CEO concluded: “IrBEA is active in the promotion and deployment of solid, liquid or gaseous bioenergy. Today, we explore the many aspects associated with our industry including its potential and opportunity as well as hearing from experts in the emerging carbon removals sector. IrBEA members are keenly focused on developing and delivering clean, renewable enRergy, along with carbon storage and resource recovery solutions.”

Picture Caption: L to R Padraig Fleming, Biomethane Programme Manager at Gas Networks Ireland (GNI), Shannon Oldfield, Events Manager, Gas Network Ireland, Seán Finan, IrBEA CEO, Minister Eamon Ryan T.D., Leader of the Green Party and Minister for Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, Paddy Phelan, IrBEA President & CEO Southeast Energy Agency, Brendan Kelly, Head of Commercial at Bord na Móna Renewable Energy.