Press Release: IrBEA welcomes the biomethane strategy publication but further market certainty is required to attract investment

Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) Press Release
For Immediate Release
29th May 2024
IrBEA welcomes the biomethane strategy publication but further market certainty is required to attract investment.
The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) as the representative voice of the Irish bioenergy industry and biogas/biomethane sectors welcomes the publication of the biomethane strategy but strongly highlights that further market certainty is required from the Government to provide the necessary conditions to attract investment and ensure the long-term viability and financial sustainability of the biomethane sector.  
Seán Finan, IrBEA CEO said “The publication of the biomethane strategy is another step forward in the development of the industry in Ireland. The initial feedback from members on the strategy is that further market certainty will be required to attract investment and to make projects fundable and viable. While capital grants and the renewable heat obligation (RHO) are outlined as mechanisms to stimulate a market for biomethane, further details and long-term certainty will be required on these measures to encourage investment.”
Finan continued “IrBEA members in their response to the initial consultation on the draft strategy indicated their concerns regarding capital grants driving up development costs and favoured an ongoing operational support mechanism.  It’s disappointing this has not been considered, explored or referenced in the strategy. Ongoing operational support has been the funding mechanism of choice used in many developing and established European biomethane markets including Denmark which is broadly lauded as a best practice example. Given the cost of feedstock and ongoing feeding requirements of a biomethane system, the fundamental question of AD plant economic viability exists. A capital grant alone or with an obligation will not eliminate this viability challenge.”
The strategy commits to the introduction of a renewable heat obligation (RHO) in the heat sector in 2024 which will incentivise suppliers of fossil fuels used for heat, to ensure a proportion of the energy they supply is renewable. Until the details of this obligation are finalised it is not possible to determine if it will constitute an adequate market stimulant.
Finan commented “We welcome the commitment to introduce the RHO. The RHO introduction has been talked about for years. Why the delay? Why are the main design components not included in the biomethane strategy to give the market confidence that it can deliver. The obligation threshold level, the percentage obligation by 2030, the types of renewable fuels allowed to fulfil the obligation and the buyout rate are all critical components which require particular attention in the design for a successful obligation scheme to deliver. The industry awaits these details to give the certainty that it will deliver as envisaged”.
The biomethane strategy correctly identifies that one of the by-products of anaerobic digestion is digestate, which can serve as an alternative to chemical fertilisers, thus reducing the need for synthetic fertilisers in agriculture.
Finan commented “Digestate presents a considerable opportunity for Ireland. However, the strategy fails to acknowledge in either the text or actions to deliver, the regulatory challenge posed by the Nitrates Directive and the 170kg/N/Hectare limit in replacing inorganic chemical fertiliser with organic digestate despite this issue being flagged in our consultation response on behalf of members.”
Other IrBEA feedback on the biomethane strategy includes:

  • The strategy does not identify the strategic risks associated with imported fuels including biomethane (fuel or certificates) or Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO)  and its traceability, as a cheaper drop in fuel, on the development of the Irish biomethane industry.
  • Minister Ryan’s statement in his foreword suggests a considerable reduction in gas usage by the mid-2030s, “as we shift our economy away from gas in favour of electrification”. The substantial reduction in dependence is unrealistic given the dependence of the energy system on gas and the need to balance growing intermittent electricity generation by wind and solar with dispatchable generation. Domestic and industrial heating will, through inertia, not deliver the considerable gas dependence reduction suggested with current policy.
  • IrBEA welcomes the strategies recognition that different sizes and scales of AD plant will be required in Ireland to deliver the target including a mix of Scenario 1 ‘Widespread Deployment’ (farm scale) and Scenario 3 ‘Economic Deployment’ (large scale).
  • IrBEA welcomes the recognition of existing Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants currently operating to produce biogas and that they will be eligible for capital support to upgrade their facilities to produce biomethane and other biobased products, along with new AD plants.
  • IrBEA welcomes the opportunity and potential for biogas transported directly to users and that the Biomethane Implementation Group, GNI and SEAI will determine the best method for certifying this biomethane that is directly transported to end users from biomethane developments.
  • IrBEA states that the Biomethane Sustainability Charter must be developed by active and meaningful engagement through meetings and structured dialogue with the industry and not just an online consultation without engagement.
  • IrBEA is concerned that the industry or their representatives are not recognised as a stakeholder in any of the measures for delivering the National Biomethane Strategy. How will industry feed into the implementation group, the biomethane charter or any of the other actions? How will the Biomethane Implementation Group interact with industry (plant operators and developers) and IrBEA as their representative body?

Finan concluded “The strategy is another step toward the mobilisation of the biomethane industry. We must move quickly towards implementation to deliver on the ambition and targets set out by the Government.”

For further information contact Seán Finan  at or 0874146480

Notes to editors
IrBEA Webinar No 45 on the biomethane strategy
The Irish Bioenergy Association will hold webinar No 45 as part of the bioenergy webinar series on Wednesday the 5th of June 2024 at 9:30am. The title of this webinar will be “The Biomethane Strategy – Industry insights, feedback and analysis”
At this webinar, the main elements within the strategy will be outlined and an expert panel will share their industry insights, feedback and analysis on the strategy. The webinar will be hosted by Seán Finan IrBEA CEO who will be joined by a panel of industry experts. Speakers details will be confirmed in the coming days. 
Register for the webinar:

Webinar 45: The Biomethane Strategy – Industry Insights, feedback and analysis

Dear IrBEA members and colleagues,The Government have published the biomethane strategy and their plans to mobile the Irish biomethane sector and achieve a 5.7TWh target by 2030. At this webinar, we will outline the main elements within the strategy and an expert panel will share their industry insights, feedback and analysis. The webinar will be hosted by Seán Finan, IrBEA CEO.
He will be joined by a panel of industry experts and stakeholders. Speakers will be confirmed in the coming days.

Register in advance for this free webinar:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Exploring wood fuel drying techniques: Workshops and site visits organized by WFQA and IrBEA

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) and the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance (WFQA) Scheme, is organising a series of wood fuel drying demonstrations and workshops. These free events are open to IrBEA & WFQA members, potential new members and interested stakeholders. The aim is to enhance the understanding of wood fuel drying techniques and processes. These events are scheduled to take place in May and June of 2024. Through these workshops and site visits, participants will gain practical insights, interact with industry experts, and exchange knowledge. These workshops are designed to assist woodfuel suppliers to meet their moisture content requirements as specified under the Solid Fuel Regulations. These workshops are open to all fuel suppliers and all members. Each event will showcase unique learning aspects of wood fuel production and we encourage participants to attend as many of these events as possible. Wood fuel drying is a pivotal stage in the production of quality wood fuels. Various drying methods are employed, contingent upon factors such as wood type, desired moisture content, production scale, and resource availability. During these site visits, attendees will have the opportunity to explore different drying methods, including:

Workshop 1: Polytunnel drying, Thursday 16th May 2024 – 10:30 to 13:30, Sherlogs, Gainstown, Navan, Co. Meath.
Industrial scale polytunnels are an excellent tool to accelerate air drying while also providing fuel storage. Properly designed tunnels offer a controlled environment with elevated temperatures conducive to fast wood drying. Particularly advantageous for smaller-scale operations or regions with unpredictable or adverse weather conditions, polytunnel drying provides an effective alternative to traditional outdoor drying methods.

Workshop 2: Kiln drying, Thursday 30th May 2024 – 10:30 to 15:30, Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge, followed by a site visit to D.Brennan and Sons, Kilcullen, Co. Kildare.
Kilns are used to rapidly dry wood fuels with artificial heat and airflow. While kilns do have an associated capital and operational cost, they can effectively reduce the drying time from several months to a few days. Fuel drying can be relatively low tech. At this workshop, we will be hosting a kiln expert who will explain the fundamentals of proper kiln drying. Kiln drying offers faster and more uniform drying compared to air drying, making it a valuable tool for large and small-scale wood fuel production facilities seeking to have more control over fuel production.

Workshop 3: Air drying, Saturday 15th June 2024 – 10:30 to 13:30, Cotter Bros Firewood, Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick.
This approach involves the correct stacking of wood in open-air environments with ample airflow and sunlight exposure. Air drying, when done correctly is an effective low cost method of producing wood fuels. However, it does require care, time, attention and space. Air drying is often a precursor to further drying processes such as kilns and polytunnels, particularly suited for smaller-scale operations. This site operator has perfected various air drying techniques which allow them to consistently produce firewood at under 20% moisture content.

UK Tour 4: UK kiln drying site visits, first week of June 2024
We will be hosting a 2-day study tour to the UK to meet with firewood producers utilising various kiln designs to produce firewood to 20% moisture content. This excursion will afford participants invaluable insights into kiln operations, further details will be provided shortly. The trip will be held in the first week of June with dates and full details to be confirmed.

These events are free. Seperate registration for each event in advance is mandatory. See links below.
For further information on these events please contact Noel Gavigan at or Teresa O’Brien at
Register links below
The Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme (WFQA) is managed and administered by Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) and the promotion of the scheme is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

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 and Stephen McCormack at

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:

THREE C & CASCADE project video available :

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.”


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