For all those who took part in this webinar or those who would like to catch up.
You can view the live recording here
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have recognised that bioenergy represents the largest current contributor to renewable energy across the world and is likely to remain that way for at least the first half of this century. They also highlight the role that bioenergy can play in carbon removal as well as in the development of bioenergy-based fuel alternatives for fossil fuels as biorefinery technologies mature. The IPPC also reports on the complimentary role bioenergy can play alongside the food, fibre, and forestry products sector but this is a sector that will require investment, support and the right policy measures in place to ensure the continued sustainability of the sector.
Speakers at this webinar explored the following areas:
• The potential for bioenergy in Ireland is significantly lagging behind Europe.
• Bioenergy is part of a suite of emissions reduction measures required.
• The scale of the challenge to decarbonise heat, transport, electricity and agriculture.
• The blinds spot that exist in Irish policy and supports towards bioenergy.
• Recognising the role of bioenergy in achieving 51% emissions reduction by 2030.
Paddy Phelan – IrBEA President & CEO of 3 Counties Energy Agency (3cea)
Dr Paul Deane – Research Fellow at University College Cork MaREI
Christian Rakos – President World Bioenergy Association
Harmen Dekker – Director European Biogas Association
Seán Finan – CEO Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) (Chair)
For all participants who took part in this webinar or those who would like to catch up, you can view the live recording here
Bioenergy offers Ireland multi-sectoral benefits. Discussions are mostly focused on the provision of energy and emissions reduction. At this webinar the panel broadened the conversation to the wider benefits of bioenergy including rural development, indigenous generated energy, enhancing biodiversity and community involvement. The sustainability of bioenergy is governed by strict criteria in the RED II directive and plays a key role in sustainable forest management.
Speakers at this webinar explored the following areas:
- Enhancing the natural environment, rural communities and creating jobs in rural areas.
- Why is Ireland a laggard in Bioenergy deployment.
- Replacing fossil fuels imports with indigenous resources such as biogas, energy crops, woodchip & firewood.
- Sustainability and REDII – Protecting forest and hedgerow habitats.
- Biogas reducing chemical fertiliser input and enhancing biodiversity.
- Developing sustainable communities through Bioenergy projects.
- Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
- Michael Kottner – IBBK & German Biogas Association
- Maurice Ryan – IrBEA Vice President & Director of Green Belt
- Chris Johnston – Project Leader in Environment & Renewable Energy Research at AFBI Hillsborough
For all participants who took part in this webinar or those who would like to catch up, you can view the live recording here
To grow the Bioenergy sector mobilising finance is a key enabler. International financial institutions and funders must play their part by providing private and public sector finance to secure global net zero. Many stakeholders say that there is an abundance of capital available but that the Irish policy and regulatory landscape is seen as an impediment to the development of large scale projects. Speakers at this webinar explored the following areas:
- Developing the Bioenergy project pipeline and encouraging investment
- The role of market and other supports mechanisms in deploying Bioenergy.
- The drivers of investment in Bioenergy and the Bioeconomy.
- Focus on a company that has successfully developed Bioenergy and the rural Bioeconomy and the challenges they faced.
- Creating the environment for the development of innovative products and solutions.
UpThink Innovation Agency
Project Manager IrBEA
For all those who took part in this webinar or those who would like to catch up. You can view the live recording of the Presentation here
This was the final webinar in the IrBEA National Bioenergy Conference Series, we will discuss the enormous scale of the challenge in meeting emissions reduction targets. No one solution proposed today will get us to where we need to be. This challenge will require all stakeholders working together and every option, solution and technology playing its part. This webinar heard speakers discuss what positive developments have occurred over COP26. Kiara Zennaro also discussed developments in the UK with Paddy Phelan focusing on the newly publicised Climate Action Plan 2021 for Ireland. James Cogan discussed the difficulties of translating pledges made at COP26 into a reality on the ground. As an expert in biofuels he also reviewed the current challenges facing the biofuels sector.
Kiara Zennaro – The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology
James Cogan – ClonBio Group
Paddy Phelan – CEO of 3cea & IrBEA President
Seán Finan (Chair) – CEO IrBEA
The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) highlighted in its recent consultation response, the need for the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) Strategic Plan to contain provision for Bioenergy measures.
For Immediate Release: 22/09/2021
Seán Finan, CEO at IrBEA said “the Bioenergy sector has a significant role to play in addressing some of the key challenges and opportunities that farmers, foresters and the broader agricultural industry face. This should be recognised in the drafting of the Irish CAP Strategic Plan. Bioenergy has a considerable role to play in decarbonisation and the emissions reduction efforts of agriculture through development and mobilisation of energy crop, biomass and biogas industries. The sector can drive improvement in water quality through the use of biochar as a filter media. Biochar can also be used as a soil and slurry enhancer and animal feed additive. Biogas as a fuel can decarbonise heating and vehicles. Chemical fertiliser can be displaced with digestate from biogas production. Wood fuel production through the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance (WFQA) scheme is currently providing a market for thinning material as part of sustainable forest management.”
The CAP Strategic Plan should facilitate the development of various aspects of Bioenergy through the following measures:
European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI) Operational Groups: Enhance, develop and increase the budgetary allocation from the current provision for the further growth of the European Innovation Partnership Project model. IrBEA is the lead partner on a current EIP project called the “Small Biogas Demonstration Programme” which is investigating the deployment of small scale biogas facilities on farms. This form of research and development is important to bring together a range of interested parties including farmers, technical specialists and researchers to find innovative and practical solutions to common issues at farm level.
Knowledge Transfer Programme: IrBEA would like to see flexibility within the design of the proposed Knowledge Transfer Programme to accommodate Bioenergy based focused Knowledge Transfer groups. These groups could comprise of farmers, foresters and technical advisors covering such area as: energy crops, wood fuels, biogas development and forestry etc.
On-farm Capital Investment Scheme: Consider broadening the proposed Capital Investment Scheme to potentially facilitate Forester, Farmers and Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’S) who would like to develop infrastructure such as drying sheds, chipping equipment and weighing equipment to process and mobilise wood fuels from the private forestry estate, biomass crops and energy crops.
Finan concluded “inclusion of provision for bioenergy in the CAP Strategic Plan measures would be a positive development for the sector. It would recognise the significant role that the bioenergy sector has to play in the decarbonisation and emissions reduction efforts of farming and the broader agriculture industry. We look forward to engaging with the Minister and Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine officials to discuss the role of bioenergy in delivering on the overall CAP Strategic Plan objectives.”
For Further Information Please contact Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 0874146480
The Department of Environment Climate and Communications have published a consultation on the proposed Renewable Heat Obligation Scheme (RHOS) to support the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. This webinar outlined the main proposals within the proposed scheme and the role of bioenergy in meeting the obligation. The RHOS will mandate heating fuel suppliers to include a portion of renewable fuels in the fuel mix, starting at 0.5% and moving to 3% by 2030. Renewable fuel suppliers will be able to sell fuel or certificates to the fossil fuel suppliers – thus incentivising renewable heating. We anticipate that the RHOS will operate in a similar way to the Biofuel Obligation Scheme which has been operating for over 10 years. Noel Gavigan outlined the proposed framework detailed in the current public consultation and how it will impact the market and consumers.
LIVE RECORDING HERE
Noel Gavigan IrBEA Technical Director
Seán Finan IrBEA CEO (Chair)
Immediate Release: 07/09/2021
Following several years of lobbying for the regulation of wood fuels, the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) cautiously welcome Minister Ryan’s announcement on New Standards for Domestic Solid Fuels. The new regulations set a standard for wood moisture levels, ensuring that wood fuel is clean burning and efficient for the householder.
Noel Gavigan, Technical Executive at IrBEA said “the introduction of a 25% limit on fuel moisture content, later to be reduced to 20%, is a welcome development for the market. Through the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance (WFQA) scheme which we administer, we already have several dozen wood fuel suppliers in the Irish market that only produce fuel to the 25% moisture content standard. WFQA certified wood fuels at this low moisture are of great benefit to the customer in terms of efficiency, heat generation and clean burning.”
IrBEA is concerned over one aspect of the proposed public awareness campaign. Which states “Ask yourself: Do I need to light a fire? – Use other cleaner heating sources instead if possible.” The new proposed public awareness campaign suggests that consumers should question the use of a fire to heat their home.
Mr Gavigan continued “this proposed element “do I need to light a fire?” sends a confusing message to the general public. Any campaign rolled out by the department should encourage people to move away from open fires and fossil fuels and use more efficient and renewable heating sources rather than questioning if they should light a fire in the first place. For many a fire is the only heating option available. The department through any awareness campaign should encourage consumers to use Eco-design wood fired appliances as a replacement to open fired fossil systems.”
IrBEA looks forward to engaging further with the Department as they develop these proposals to regulate the domestic solid fuel market and discussing the range of options available to homeowners to decarbonise their heating systems where retrofit is prohibitive for various reasons.
Sean Finan, CEO of IrBEA concluded “The success of the proposed solid fuel regulations implementation will ultimately depend on the level of resources dedicated to its enforcement and regular monitoring of compliance. This needs to be backed up by an effective campaign which encourages consumers to make the move away from fossil fuels sources to renewable options. Wood fuels offer homeowners with an opportunity to decarbonise their home heating systems very quickly. This needs to be encouraged through government supports and incentives as for many homeowners, the cost of deep-retrofitting is financially and logistically prohibitive.
For Further Information Please contact Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 087414648
About the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme (WFQA)
The WFQA scheme is an all island scheme established to increase consumer confidence in wood fuel products sold in Ireland. The WFQA is managed and administered by the Irish Bioenergy Association with some financial assistance from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The WFQA certifies firewood, woodchip, wood pellet and wood briquette suppliers to ensure compliance with EN ISO 17225 standard. As WFQA grows, members will provide consumers with a greater degree of confidence in secure supply of quality certified wood fuel products around Ireland. Further information available at www.wfqa.org
For Immediate Release
Biochar production and use is an emerging opportunity in Ireland that needs to be embraced for its full benefit to be realised in addressing a series of challenges across many of our sectors. Biochar could benefit the forestry, agricultural and environmental sectors as a soil remediator, a slow-release fertiliser, a filtration medium, an animal feed additive, a potential peat replacement and as a carbon sink to name but a few.
Stephen McCormack, Project Executive with the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) said:” While levels of research into biochar and its various applications are increasing, much more is needed for its widescale production and use to be realised. We call on National authorities, research and funding bodies to take this opportunity seriously by providing greatly enhanced funding and resources to further explore and understand biochar’s uses and applications in an Irish context.”
Biochar can be produced from indigenous biomass including food processing waste, woody biomass, fibrous grassy material or from a variety of sludges or manures. Biochar production is accessible at many scales and equipment can vary in size and complexity, depending on output required.
McCormack continued: “Biochar is increasingly being used in different applications across many industries. Its porous nature, large surface area, surface chemistry, ability to bind with different substances and adsorption capacity makes it a very versatile and useful material. All these properties need to be further investigated in an Irish context through funded research and development projects.”
Biochar makes a useful tool for binding with nutrients and water in the soil, allowing for their retention. Farmers can add it to slurry, manure and composting processes, aiding in the reduction of fugitive emissions and odorous compounds. It can be used as an additive for animal bedding, poultry litter and animal feed. These applications have the added benefit of increasing the carbon content of the material that gets composted, land spread or incorporated into the soil. Biochar, in the form of activated carbon, is showing promise in water and wastewater treatment. Biochar filters on farms can reduce nutrient run off and reduce the risk of eutrophication.
Seán Finan, CEO of IrBEA, said “Biochar production can play a part in many sectors and also in the provision of renewable heat. In the thermal conversion, through pyrolysis, of biomass to biochar, you end up with a valuable solid product in the biochar, but also a usable source of renewable heat. The phrase combined heat and biochar has been used to describe this set up and needs to be developed further.”
McCormack concluded: “IrBEA and a number of its members are actively involved in the biochar space for the past number of years. Biochar is now commercially available here. IrBEA has shown leadership through projects such as the current Interreg funded THREE C project. We have been engaging with those involved in the research and development of this sector, not only here, but across Europe. Ireland has a growing number of biochar producers and end users. The appetite strongly exists for enhanced research and development to facilitate the further growth of the sector. It is an interesting time to be involved in the biochar space. IrBEA are open to working with those interested in collaboration for the development of the sector here in Ireland on behalf of our members.”
Notes to Editors:
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
What is Biochar?
• High carbon content solid material made by heating biomass in the absence of oxygen in process called pyrolysis.
• Can be made from a wide variety of biomass, which once converted thermally, are recalcitrant or extremely stable, meaning it won’t decompose potentially for hundreds of years.
• Being highly porous, it makes an excellent adsorbent. One gramme of powdered biochar can have a surface area of anywhere between 10 and 500 meters squared. This makes it an excellent filtration medium.
• Biochar was highlighted by the 2018 report by the (IPCC) intergovernmental panel on climate change as being a promising Negative Emissions Technology, meaning it has potential to draw down and sequester atmospheric carbon.
• It shows great potential as a soil improver, increasing carbon content and providing habitats for beneficial soil microbiology.
• Biochar production facilities increasingly involved in voluntary carbon removal markets.
• Modern production facilities will have a way to utilise the excess thermal energy produced, increasing efficiencies (as process heat or district heating networks as an example).
• IrBEA counts among its membership, biomass suppliers, bulk biochar producers, pyrolysis technology providers and developers, animal feed additive producers, soil & plant feed additive producers, activated carbon specialists and biochar analytics.
About THREE C
• THREE C (Creating the Circular Carbon Economy) is a three-year Interreg Northwest Europe funded project that runs from January 2020 to December 2022.
• It is being led by the University of Kassel in Germany
• It has a total budget of €5.62 million and 13 project partners and sub partners spread over the 6 participating countries which are Germany, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Wales, and Ireland.
• It is focused on the circular economy and innovation based on carbon feedstocks and is the follow up project to the recently finished RE-DIRECT project
• A professional development course for those who wish to investigate biochar-based products or services is now underway with over 40 participants from the 6 countries involved, with plans to run the course annually for new participants.
• During the project period:
- 7 regional Circular Carbon Hubs (CC-Hubs) will be established for product and business development and marketing.
- Circular Carbon-Labs (CC-Labs) will develop quality control mechanisms for tailor-made products and raw materials
- 1 European umbrella organisation (CC-Net) provides business support, continuous vocational training, and advice for SMEs in the new sector.
The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) articulated the frustration of members in its response to the recent Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) consultation. The additional value of Renewable Electricity generation from Bioenergy ahead of intermittent generation in terms of continuous supply and grid stability is not recognised in the RESS system. The RESS 2 consultation document did not contain details of any specific category allocation for bioenergy projects including biomass and biogas similar to how solar got a preferential category in the last RESS auction.
Seán Finan, CEO of IrBEA said “RESS auctions are intended to be technology neutral but are biased towards technologies that provide a low MWh cost only. Bioenergy cannot compete on a cost only basis with other intermittent electricity sources such as wind and solar. The current maximum offer price is also a limiting factor and precludes bioenergy generation. It seems that no value is currently placed on continuous generation, grid stability and the additional environmental, financial and social benefits that bioenergy generation could provide. This may prove detrimental, if not addressed, to the Irish power grid and economic growth.”
A developer considering a wind or solar project, has a high level of certainty that the RESS will be a potential support for their project. This gives confidence and allows investment by the developer in project development costs. The market needs to be provided with some level of assurance around future support through RESS for cogeneration (CHP) bioenergy projects for them to develop.
Finan continued “Intermittent technologies such as wind and solar have certainty through the RESS process. They can plan for future auctions and invest in project development costs accordingly, with the assurance that there will be a potential support available in the future through the auction system. Bioenergy projects do not have the same certainty. As a result, it’s difficult for the project pipeline to develop. The Department of Environment, Climate & Communications (DECC) and Minister Ryan need to signal their future intentions immediately regarding specific support for bioenergy through the RESS auction system. The Department has indicated that there will be a separate RESS offshore wind auction in the short term. Why can’t there be a separate RESS bioenergy auction also?”
Governed by the latest version of the Renewable Energy Directive sustainability criteria, bioenergy provides long term employment and economic activity in rural areas. With an increased ambition to 2030, meeting current renewable energy and emissions reduction targets presents a significant challenge. A range of renewable generation technologies will be required to meet renewable electricity targets. This needs to including bioenergy-based cogeneration.
Finan concluded “We urge DECC and the Minister to engage with the bioenergy industry and ensure that future RESS auctions support a wider range of renewable electricity sources. A broader array of benefits other than just cost need to be evaluated and valued. Ireland has great potential for variable sources such as wind and solar. Generation capacity can be increased considerably with these technologies. However, the wind does not always blow and the sun always shine. The challenge of an increasing demand for electricity through a forecasted growth of electrification will require all potential generation technologies to contribute. Significant planning will be required in terms of continuous generation, supply balancing and storage of electricity. IrBEA fully supports the drive to decarbonise our electricity grid. All generation technologies must be considered and supported to ensure that a secure, stable, reliable and renewable grid is developed over the coming decade and beyond”.
For Further information please contact Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 0874146480