IrBEA’s Biochar Conference highlights the potential for growth in the sector

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) were delighted to run a successful National Biochar and Carbon Products Conference last Wednesday on the 3rd of May in the Landmark Hotel, Carrick-On-Shannon, Co Leitrim. 122 enthusiastic participants attended, representing a cross section of stakeholders and businesses from this emerging sector. This event brought together experts, innovators, and entrepreneurs to discuss the potential of biochar and the development of carbon products.

We were delighted to welcome Bernard Harris from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine who gave the keynote address and Colm Markey MEP for Midlands North West who reported on the critical contribution of carbon farming from a European perspective.

This event was run by Stephen McCormack IrBEA Executive, through the Interreg North West Europe (NWE) THREE C project of which IrBEA is an Irish partner. All the THREE C partners travelled to Ireland for this key event.

We are thankful to all our speakers who came from across Europe and Ireland to share their knowledge and insights on the day.

Photo: Speakers on the day.
Back row (L to R) Maurice Deasy, Dan Hayes, Philip Masterson, Alex Wilcox Brooke, Tim Scholze, Sander Lubberhuizen, Cordner Peacocke, Robert Johnson, Maurice Ryan, Moritz Kormann.
Middle row (L to R)
Gary Lyons, Teresa O’Brien, David Robinson, Noel Gavigan, James MacPhail, Stephen McCormack
Front row (L to R)
Colin Keyse, Seán Finan, Luned Roberts, Geraldine McLoughlin
Speakers not in this picture include Bernard Dunne, Colm Markey, Kim McCall and Bernard Carey.
Photo credit: John Ohle Photography

Press Release: Biomethane strategy must include medium- to long-term market supports. – IrBEA

For immediate release

9 May 2023

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) highlights that it is essential that there be meaningful engagement with key stakeholders and anaerobic digestion (AD) facility operators in the development of the Government’s promised biomethane strategy.

CEO of IrBEA, Mr Seán Finan, on behalf of its members is also emphasising that:

“The promised biomethane strategy must include medium- to long-term market supports, similar to what has been demonstrated to work in other renewable energy sectors in Ireland and across Europe.”


Last week, IrBEA highlighted to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Oireachtas Agriculture Committee) that the promised biomethane strategy needs to:

  • “be developed in association with key stakeholders and AD facility operators who understand the cost of production and economic models to develop these facilities.
  • contain details of what medium- to long-term supports, incentives and measures are going to mobilise the Government target by 2030. The gap between cost of production and the market return has closed in recent times with the increased fossil energy prices, but still exists. This cost-gap must be bridged through long-term policy, support, incentives, and measures.
  • the support introduced needs to be adequate to give market certainty and ensure that it is enough to be able to develop, operate and maintain facilities and pay for feedstocks over the long-term.
  • recognise that a fair return is required along the supply chain for all stakeholders, from the farmer growing grass silage as a feedstock to the operator who is running the plant and all those involved in between.
  • deliver the Government target on a phased basis where lessons can be learned with all phases and amendments made as required; and
  • ensure that the biomethane sector is complementary to our agricultural and farming systems rather than compete with them.”

A range of invited speakers at the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee, including from IrBEA, and its members Biocore Environmental and Gas Networks Ireland, pointed out that there is both an energy opportunity and a nutrient recovery or transition opportunity, diversifying from imported chemical farm fertiliser produced from fossil gas, for Ireland in developing a biogas/biomethane sector.

In reflecting on the Oireachtas Committee meeting and looking ahead to IrBEA’s biogas/biomethane webinar this week, Pádraic Ó hUiginn, Project Executive at IrBEA said:

“Digestate from a biogas/biomethane industry is a circular economy, bioeconomy, and environmental opportunity, in terms of potentially enabling a transition from imported chemical fertilisers, and land-spreading of slurry, to this locally-recovered and more nutrient-available fertiliser. It offers a better pathway for fertilising farm-land, reducing the potential impact of run-off, as well as the broader energy and environmental benefits. AD offers more than just sustainable and renewable energy. However, it will require policy and regulatory understanding and support to enable it to happen.”

This week, IrBEA maintains a spotlight on the biogas/biomethane sector, with one of its Wednesday webinars, on a new report produced by bioeconomy consultants NNFCC on current deployment of AD in Ireland.

“We look forward to tomorrow’s webinar: ‘NNFCC’s 2023 Irish anaerobic digestion report explores current deployment ahead of expected biogas and biomethane market growth’, with guest presenter Andrea Muñoz García. NNFCC has worked with Irish project partners for over a decade, particularly in supporting innovation and business development for anaerobic digestion technologies for biogas, biomethane and digestate, through EU-funded projects like Bio Base NWE and BioBase4SME. I have been fortunate to have been part of international teams with NNFCC on those projects. It’s important in a post-Brexit environment that the biogas/biomethane sector can continue to find ways to work alongside UK-based organisations such as NNFCC, including in an island of Ireland context,” commented Mr Pádraic Ó hUiginn, Project Executive at IrBEA.

To register for tomorrow’s IrBEA webinar (Wednesday, 10th of May, at 09.30am), please access this link:

A recording of the webinar will be available on the IrBEA website subsequently.


For further information contact: Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 087 4146480


Access the recording of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine here:


PRESS RELEASE: IrBEA launches National Biochar and Carbon Products conference

For immediate release

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) is delighted to launch its upcoming National Biochar and Carbon Products conference, which will take place on Wednesday 3rd of May in the Landmark Hotel , Carrick-On-Shannon, Co Leitrim. IrBEA, as the national representative body for the biochar and carbon products sector, seeks to raise the profile of these sectors here in Ireland. Biochar is a stable form of charcoal, produced from a wide variety of biomass streams using pyrolysis (heating without oxygen) technology. It is increasingly recognised for the important role it can play in environmental or agricultural applications.

IrBEA project executive Stephen McCormack, said: “ we look forward to welcoming delegates to this conference and we are delighted that Leitrim County Council Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Ita Reynolds Flynn could  join us for the launch photograph. This event will bring together farmers,  foresters, biochar producers, users and practitioners from around Ireland and Europe to discuss the potential of biochar and the development of carbon products and their role in a modern world.”

Speakers at the conference will be covering the topics of carbon farming and the potential for biochar, use of biochar within construction materials, biochar’s role within water quality ,its role within our farming community and the benefit it can have a soil or slurry amendment,  and also its role as a growing media within the horticultural sector. The event  will be sponsored by Arigna Fuels and Celignis Analytical , two key players within the sector in Ireland.

Brendan Layden, Managing Director of Arigna Fuels said: “Arigna Fuels produce both high quality biochar and Harvest Flame, a 100% renewable biomass product aimed at the home heating market. We are delighted to sponsor this National Biochar and Carbon products conference, here in the North West- as early innovators in the sector , it is great to see the interest around this grow and we look forward to welcoming attendees on the day.”

Danial Hayes , of Celignis Analytical  said “We here at Celignis have seen the emergence of this sector grow over the past few years, leading to us developing a suite of testing packages capable of serving the needs of Irish companies. By providing access to quality data and analysis as well as research, we hope to support the sector as it develops further.

Biochar and renewable carbon based products have seen a surge in growth globally in the last decade. But many people are still unaware of exactly what it is, the role it can play in carbon sequestration, how it is being used for environmental or agricultural applications or even its role in adding value to residual biomass or for the provision of bioenergy. IrBEA have been involved in a series of Interreg NWE funded projects (THREE C- Creating the circular carbon economy) exploring these topics and it is through this work we hope to continue to raise awareness and shine a light on the many potential benefits this emerging sector can offer.

Seán Finan, CEO of IrBEA concluded” We look forward to welcoming our European colleagues to Ireland , who we have worked closely with over a number of years through our involvement in the EU funded Interreg NWE programme. The conference delegates will hear from a European political perspective, with  Midlands North West Colm Markey MEP providing an insight into the current policy discussions in the European Parliament on carbon farming and the potential opportunity for Irish farmers and business.”

Further information regarding the conference please visit


PRESS RELEASE: IrBEA welcomes provision for Irish-produced biofuels in newly signed transport regulations.

For Immediate Release:

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) welcomes the inclusion of additional renewable certificates for biodiesel produced from category one tallow in the renewable transport fuel regulations 2023. Initially,  the Department of Transport’s draft regulation gave an enhanced multiplier to Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO) over Irish-produced biodiesel. This had the potential to wipe out indigenous biofuel production in favour of imported HVO. If implemented, this would have been detrimental to Irish biofuels producers, placing them at a distinct disadvantage over imported biofuels. It would also have had significant adverse impacts on the rendering and animal processing sectors, who depend on biodiesel production as a circular economy outlet for their tallows and fats.

IrBEA CEO Seán Finan said “We are happy that the direct interventions of IrBEA, with and on behalf of our members, has resulted in the inclusion of biodiesel produced from category one tallow in the newly signed transport regulations. Direct jobs in the biofuel businesses impacted and indirect jobs in the broader supply chain were in jeopardy if the Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan T.D. had not included biodiesel produced from category one tallow in the regulation.”

Finan continued “Irish biodiesel producers use animal fats (tallow) from the meat processing sector and used cooking oil (UCO) to produce biodiesel. This sustainable biofuel production and its viability was threatened if HVO received the additional renewable energy certificate and Irish produced biodiesel did not. We would like to acknowledge and thank Minister Ryan and his officials for listening to our concerns and including indigenous biodiesel production from category one tallow in the newly signed regulations.”

The National Oil Reserves Agency Act (additional certificates for renewable transport fuel) Regulation 2023 also contains provision for additional renewable fuel certificates for biomethane and mandates the inclusion of a minimum percentage volume of ethanol in petrol.

Finan concluded “For many years, IrBEA with our members, have campaigned for an increased ethanol blending mandate in petrol (E10). The introduction of E10 will result in an immediate reduction in transport carbon emissions. This cumulative emissions reduction per year is equivalent to taking tens of thousands of cars off the road. The additional certificates for biomethane are another step forward for the deployment of biomethane in the transport sector and the development of a mainstream Irish biomethane sector. We strongly encourage the Government to actively promote the development of the indigenous biofuels production sector and recognise it sufficiently in policy. Indigenous biofuel production is the sleeping giant of transport decarbonisation while simultaneously boosting Irish industry”.


For Further Information Contact: Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 087 4146480

New transport fuel rules will close the Irish biofuels sector and threatens meat processors and farmers – IrBEA

For Immediate Release:

28th March 2023

New rules due to be signed this week by Minister Ryan will close down the Irish biofuels sector in favour of imported Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO) and threaten the Irish meat processing sector and farmers. Irish fuel suppliers have been required to blend in a proportion of biofuel into all road transport fuels since 2010. However, new rules due to be introduced by the Minister will put Irish biofuels producers at a distinct disadvantage over imported biofuels. The Minister’s proposal will give an enhanced multiplier to HVO over Irish-produced biodiesel with the potential to wipe out indigenous biofuel production in favour of imported HVO.

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) CEO Seán Finan said “Irish biodiesel producers use animal fats (tallow) from the meat processing sector and used cooking oil (UCO) to produce biodiesel. This sustainable biofuel production and its viability is threatened with the new proposals.  This will collapse Irish biofuel production at the stroke of a pen. The market for Irish tallow will disappear overnight. This will cause interruptions to the rendering and meat processing sectors. This disruptive change will impact their ability to process fallen animals, specified risk materials and fats.”

Finan continued “Over the last decade the vast majority of renewable transport diesel fuel has come from this sector. In 2020, Biofuel blending in Ireland avoided approximately 520,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions”.

The stark impacts of this proposal are:

  • Multipliers given to HVO will automatically severely and negatively impact Irish biodiesel production facilities.
  • Loss of indigenous production undermines security of supply of locally-produced biodiesel.
  • Loss of direct jobs in rural Ireland and hundreds of jobs in the supply chain.
  • Biofuel producers would close in the short-term.
  • Loss of an Irish industry in favour of imports.
  • Loss of the green circular bioeconomy opportunity which has been created by Irish biofuel producers over 15 years.
  • In the medium term, there is no mechanism for export of Category 1 tallow which would cause an immediate impact on all meat processors and impact fallen animal collectors, resulting in disruption to farmers.
  • It puts the emerging biomethane sector at risk.

Finan concluded “Biofuel producers have already reported demand dissipation for Irish biodiesel and biomethane and a fall in market prices, accelerated by anticipation of the implementation of the regulation. IrBEA appeals to Minister Ryan not to proceed with the signing of the regulation. Why would the government give an extra multiplier to imported HVO which would be detrimental, give unfair advantage and discriminate against Irish biodiesel production which promotes the Irish green circular bioeconomy and puts the development of an emerging biomethane sector at risk? If the new regulation is implemented, Ireland would be the first in Europe to discriminate against biodiesel in favour of imported fuels and would have massive negative repercussions for Ireland’s biofuels producers. How can Minister Ryan stand over the destruction of a sustainable and indigenous biofuel industry and is he fully aware of the implications of signing the regulations?”



For Further Information Contact: Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 087 4146480

Notes to Editors:

The draft regulation can be found here.

IrBEA welcomes the relaunch of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH)

For Immediate Release:

02nd March 2023

IrBEA welcomes the relaunch of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH)

The Irish Bioenergy Association welcomes the relaunch of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) by Minister for Environment, Climate and Communication Eamon Ryan T.D. and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

Speaking at the relaunch event in Dublin, IrBEA CEO Seán Finan said: “We welcome the relaunch of the SSRH scheme for Biomass and Anaerobic Digestion heat systems. Since the scheme opened in 2019 over 30 projects have been completed and are currently in receipt of the biomass operational aid. It is hoped that the relaunch and widening of the scheme will invigorate its mobilisation and the renewable heat sector in Ireland. With a broadened scope to include emission trading scheme (ETS) heat users, we strongly encourage non-domestic heat users to consider applying for this scheme and install a biomass heating system through the SSRH which will deliver long term environmental and economic benefits.”

In addition to the 30 biomass installations commissioned and receiving regular payments under the SSRH, there are 70 more in receipt of letters of offer to progress their projects. The installations in receipt of payments are spread across the agriculture, industry, nursing homes, hotels and leisure centre sectors.

Biomass heating is unique in supporting rural communities, delivering not only cost savings to the user but also ensuring that the money spent on fuel is distributed to local forest owners and a local supply chain.

Finan continued: “The success of the SSRH scheme and broad uptake depends on:

  • A streamlined and efficient application and administration system within SEAI
  • A dedicated press and promotional campaign by SEAI with assistance from stakeholders promoting solid biomass as a decarbonisation option for commercial heating requirements for Irish businesses.
  • Ongoing promotion of solid biomass as a business heat decarbonisation option by Minister Ryan similar to his current strong advocacy for other technologies.
  • Consideration of the potential need for an additional fifth tier of tariff payments to make it attractive to larger energy users to avail of the scheme in line with the broadening of the scope to the ETS sector.”

The potential for the growth and development of the solid biomass heating sector in Ireland is huge. Europe in the last two years has seen a huge growth in the deployment of solid biomass heating technology across domestic, commercial and industrial users. Solid biomass is a by-product of sustainable forest management and sustainable lumber manufacturing, it is a proven, low cost and sustainable energy source, mobilised through local supply chains, providing jobs and employment opportunities in Ireland.

Speaking at the launch Noel Gavigan, IrBEA Technical Executive said: “There is significant potential to decarbonise non-domestic heat users from fossil fuels to renewable biomass sources supported by the SSRH scheme. We welcome the proposed widening of the SSRH to the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) sector, this is currently awaiting state aid approval from the EU and needs to be approved as quickly as possible. In IrBEA, we continue to promote best practice in the solid biomass heating sector by the use of quality certified wood fuel through our Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme (WFQA) and best practice by IrBEA’s register of biomass heating system designers and installers.”

Pictured at the relaunch of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) at the Iveagh Garden Hotel, Dublin 2 were L to R Noel Gavigan Technical Executive Irish Bioenergy Association, Seán Finan CEO Irish Bioenergy Association and Eamon Ryan TD, and Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications and Minister for Transport



For Further Information Contact: Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 087 4146480

Notes to Editors:

Details of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat

To find out more about the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat please visit:


Bioenergy should be a central focus of Ireland’s Bioeconomy Action Plan – IrBEA

For Immediate Release:
02nd February 2023

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) made a detailed submission to the recent Bioeconomy Action Plan consultation, on behalf of its members, IrBEA highlighted the crucial role and potential of bioenergy in response to a number of dedicated topics. The organisation highlighted some general points regarding the emerging sector, and in particular, the role the bioenergy sectors of solid biomass, biogas/biomethane, liquid biofuels and biochar have to play in the successful development of a bioeconomy here in Ireland.

Stephen McCormack, Project Executive at IrBEA said “The potential for the growth and development of a mainstream bioeconomy here in Ireland is huge with bioenergy being a key enabler of this potential. In order for this growth and potential to be realised, a carefully developed, actionable and resourced action plan is required from Government. This will require ongoing collaboration across a wide range of stakeholders and across Government departments, continuous focus at scaling technologies and processes beyond the laboratory, as well as a sustained communication and outreach campaign targeting all walks of life, to enable the transition to a biobased economy with bioenergy being a central pillar.”

Many stakeholders are currently key enablers of the bioeconomy and already actively involved in the bioeconomy space, but they don’t realise it. They are operating both here and abroad. These stakeholders include biofuel producers, technology providers, designers and installers, supply chains and logistics responsible for mobilising biomass feedstocks, biomass analytical companies, researchers, farmers and foresters. Bioenergy is very important to develop supply chains which potentially in the future could evolve to feed an emerging bioeconomy.

Seán Finan, CEO of IrBEA, said “The bioeconomy and the bioenergy sector are intrinsically linked and wholly complimentary. The successful development of a bioeconomy here in Ireland will depend first and foremost on the mobilisation of biomass feedstock – an activity many IrBEA members have been involved in for many years. Current Government policy does not strongly focus on the development of biomass supply chains with favourable incentives and supports. Biomass supply chains have potential to be evolved and diversify into the future to satisfy a growing bioeconomy as it develops and matures. But without the supply chains being developed for bioenergy purposes in the short to medium term, this bioeconomy potential will not be realised. Bioenergy’s ability to offer a renewable alternative to fossil fuel use as well as the cascading principle of biomass use, as outlined in the action plan, allows for bioenergy to potentially power biorefining sites but also allow for energy recovery from any biomass fractions that aren’t converted into other products.”

Some of the general points made by IrBEA in response to the consultation include the following:

  • The mobilisation of biomass feedstocks will become increasingly important and many IrBEA members are already active in this space.
  • Technology options should be considered across the spectrum of cost and complexity – both high tech and low tech.
  • Cascading principle of biomass use – allows for bioenergy to not only power the production of biobased products and services but also allows for energy recovery from unused biomass fractions or end of life material.
  • Enhanced activities with the Higher Education Institutions are required to ensure a pipeline of expertise and talent to service the needs of the emerging sector.
  • There is a strong need for ongoing communications activities, outreach campaigns and ground up approach to embed the bioeconomy across all walks of life.
  • An emerging bioeconomy can continue to provide further decarbonisation opportunities for the transport sector through the provision of sustainable transport biofuels.

Stephen McCormack concluded “In making this submission and, with our ongoing involvement in the National Bioeconomy Forum, IrBEA will continue to work on behalf of its members and industry stakeholders, many of whom are already championing the innovation required to develop the sector. We will also seek to assist and inform others who are looking to new and exciting diversification opportunities – everyone from our farming members right up to other members involved in research and development. A well-developed Bioeconomy Action Plan will enable the sector to flourish.”


For Further Information Contact:
Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 087 4146480
Stephen Mc Cormack IrBEA Project Executive on 087 4403242

Notes to Editors:
What is the Bioeconomy?

The bioeconomy can be defined as the use of renewable biomass which can be sustainably processed into products, goods and services which can be used to offset the traditional need for use of fossil fuels. The word “biorefining” is often used to describe the fractionation of various biomass resources into different useful component parts. Biorefining for example, can turn biomass into sources of biomaterials, animal and human dietary proteins, novel polymers and compounds, as well as sources of bioenergy in the forms of bioethanol, biodiesel or biogas.

What is Bioenergy?
Bioenergy can be defined as any form of energy that is derived from living organisms, either
plant or animal. It encompasses a wide range of different types and origins. It can take the form of solid, liquid, or gaseous fuel and can be used to provide renewable energy across a variety of sectors including heating, electricity generation and transport sectors.

What are the different forms of Bioenergy?
• Solid biofuels and wood fuels: Wood pellet, woodchip, energy crops, firewood, and biomass briquettes
• Gaseous Biofuels: Biogas and Biomethane
• Liquid Biofuels: Bioethanol, Biodiesel, Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) and Bio-oil

About the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA)
IrBEA was founded in 1999. Its role is to promote the bioenergy industry and to develop this important sector on the island of Ireland. The diverse membership includes farmers and foresters, fuel suppliers, energy development companies, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, engineers, financiers and tax advisers, legal firms, consultants, planners, research organisations, local authorities, education, and advisory bodies – anyone with an interest in the bioenergy industry. IrBEA is recognised by Government and agencies as the voice of the bioenergy industry. The association’s main objectives are to influence policy makers to promote the development of bioenergy, and to promote the interests of members. Improving public awareness, networking, and information sharing, and liaising with similar interest groups are other key areas of work in promoting bioenergy as an environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable energy. Further information on the association is available at

Announcing new members

  • Greengrove Energy (woodchip)
  • Hanley Fuels (firewood)
  • O’Dwyer Timber Contractors (firewood)
  • Barrett Fuels (firewood)We welcome these new members to the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) and also congratulate them on joining the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance (WFQA) scheme and becoming certified suppliers of quality firewood and woodchip.👉 Discover where these Irish companies are located on the suppliers map at all these companies deliver firewood or woodchip to businesses and homes across the country.🤔 Interested in joining Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) membership? Read our promotional Brochure

Joint Press Release – From Gurteen College and the Irish Bioenergy Association

New Bioenergy Training Course for farmers: Gurteen College and IrBEA combine

Immediate Release: 17th January 2023

A new bioenergy training course for farmers will start on Friday 20th January 2023. It will be run as a collaboration between Gurteen College and the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA). The project is made possible by funding from the National Just Transition Fund for the wider Midlands region and Gurteen College and IrBEA’s agreement to deliver it jointly.

“This is a pivotal time for farming and climate action, and we are delighted to partner with the Irish Bioenergy Association to bring in its bioenergy technical knowledge and market development expertise for the delivery of this course. It reflects our ongoing delivery of sustainability in farming programmes for our students, and it will play an important part in the Just Transition for the wider Midlands region,” commented Gurteen College Principal, Mr Jon Parry.

A collaborative learning approach is a key part of our ethos here at Gurteen, and in this case, collaborating with IrBEA means that we can broaden and deepen the level of knowledge and expertise that the Bioenergy Training Course can access and offer to our students”, added Mr Parry.

IrBEA’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Seán Finan commented that this course is an exciting opportunity for farmers interested in bioenergy, regardless of their previous level of knowledge or expertise in it:

“Sustainability, energy and new income opportunities are very much at the core of discussions both about farming generally and amongst farmers themselves. This new Bioenergy Training Course offers the whole spectrum of farmers an opportunity to learn more about sustainable bioenergy, and the different ways it can contribute to farming, the economy, and our communities and environment”, stated Mr Finan.

Mr Finan went on to say that: “We are delighted to have arrived at this point where this exciting training opportunity for farmers is about to start, and look forward to delivering this collaboration with Gurteen College. We have been pleased to collaborate with Gurteen College on some other initiatives to date, and we look forward to the new Bioenergy Training Course being a great success. I want to thank Jon Parry, Gurteen College’s Principal, its Course Co-ordinator, Niall Finnegan and our own Co-ordinator for this course, Pádraic Ó hUiginn for his role in enabling it to get up and running.”

The course delivery will involve a mix of lectures, demonstrations and site visits. Topics covered will include: bioenergy, an overview; energy crops and solid biomass; gaseous bioenergy: biogas and biomethane; costs and budgeting; liquid biofuels, biochar, and bioenergy’s role in building sustainable biomass supply chains. There will also be a day tour as part of the course.

Gurteen College has 75 years of experience of agricultural teaching and training. IrBEA represents the broad remit of bioenergy, across the island of Ireland, since 1999. The bioenergy training course will run for one day a week for six weeks, with the possibility of some additional modules emerging from the discussions and learnings on the course. A team from IrBEA and Gurteen College will jointly deliver the course. The course will be provided on a funded scholarship-type basis. On-site attendance and participation at Gurteen College is required, where meals will be provided. The course promises to provide an exciting combination of Gurteen College’s farming and agricultural expertise and IrBEA’s bioenergy expertise, including support to bioenergy enterprise and market development. For farmers, there will be a particular focus on knowledge transfer in relation to sustainable energy crop production and anaerobic digestion.


“We are looking forward to welcoming back some former students and meeting some new students, who have already committed to the Bioenergy Training Course. There has been a lot of interest in it. We have a very small number of places still available, so if you are genuinely interested, and can commit to attending for the full duration, please get in touch with us to book a place by telephoning 067 21282 or by emailing with your name and phone number to Places will be filled on a first-come first-served basis, with a waiting list operating after that”, said Mr Niall Finnegan, Bioenergy Training Course Co-ordinator at Gurteen College.

“This is an excellent opportunity for IrBEA to share knowledge and raise awareness amongst key stakeholders of the opportunities in bioenergy and also in the Midlands Bioenergy Development Project to help build up bioenergy supply chains”, stated IrBEA’s co-ordinator for the course, Mr Pádraic Ó hUiginn.

“It will also be interesting to hear the insights and questions that the students themselves will bring to the Bioenergy Training Course, with the discussions within the modules being a key part of the course’s learning approach”, concluded Mr Ó hUiginn.

The Bioenergy Training Course is facilitated through Gurteen College’s lead role in the Producing and Promoting Green Energy project, and IrBEA’s delivery of the Midlands Bioenergy Development Project, each funded by the National Just Transition Fund.



Climate Action Plan lacks recognition for the immediate role and potential of bioenergy – IrBEA

For Immediate Release:


The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) is disappointed and concerned that the Climate Action Plan published yesterday does not adequately recognise the immediate and broad role of bioenergy in achieving Ireland’s ambitious climate action targets. The plan risks ‘putting all our eggs in one basket’ on energy security and decarbonisation. The plan is at odds with the evidence provided by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These international experts, across several recent reports, including the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment report, state that to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, in accordance with the Paris Agreement, that the use of feasible renewable technologies, including bioenergy, needs to be rapidly expanded in the short term.

Seán Finan, Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) CEO said: “Bioenergy gets just one mention in the overall climate action plan published yesterday. The plan fails to recognise the significant immediate role and contribution that bioenergy can make to emissions reduction, renewable energy targets and the broader environmental and economic benefits that bioenergy can deliver. The different bioenergy sectors including solid biomass, biogas/biomethane and liquid biofuels do not feature adequately enough in the plan. The recognition of their immediate potential, as proven, sustainable and renewable technologies lags far behind what is necessary to achieve the greenhouse gas reductions set out in national and EU legislation. The plan will not deliver if the level of ambition on bioenergy remains at an insignificant level, not to mention the reliance on unrealistic targets, unproven technologies, policies and aspirations.”

This version of the plan, like previous versions, focuses strongly on electrification of heat and transport but with an increased emphasis on the potential for biogas/biomethane and the role of liquid biofuels. The plan mentions the potential for biomass use at limited industrial heat level only and falls short in terms of recognising solid biomass as a proven, low-cost and sustainable energy source in commercial and domestic applications. The plan’s ambition and strong focus on electrification (88% by 2030) of high-grade industrial heat which is currently not proven or widely deployed, is not credible. Sustainable biomass is a proven, widely deployed and cost-effective technology currently delivering renewable heat at all scales and temperatures from domestic to industrial.

Seán Finan continued “IrBEA members are disappointed that the plan fails to recognise the need and potential to immediately accelerate the broad uptake of bioenergy technology deployment in Ireland. Despite some positive aspects of the plan, the future contribution of bioenergy in Ireland’s renewable energy mix is not meaningfully recognised in contrast to what’s currently happening in many states across Europe in terms of policy and deployment of bioenergy”

Noel Gavigan, IrBEA Technical Executive noted: “The plan is also at odds with other EU member states who consider bioenergy to be central to decarbonisation. This and previous Climate Action Plans have put significant focus on a very small pool of technologies such as electrification of cars, deep retrofit of houses, and electrification of heat. Generally, electricity is the most expensive means by which to heat water or space. With the first three years of this decade now complete the uptake of these technologies are falling far short of the Climate Action Plan expectations. It is becoming abundantly clear that the plan is set to fail significantly to meet 2025 and 2030 targets. Narrow focus on technologies that rely only on electrification is a very risky policy. This is particularly so as at a time when the public is being asked to be careful about when they use electricity – this plan seeks to make Ireland doubly reliant on having a secure renewable electricity grid delivering substantially more power than today. Instead of taking pressure off the electricity grid, the plan proposes to add more demands to it. Other EU member states clearly see the need to develop a wider range of technologies and are ensuring secure supply though having this approach.”

Ambition for district heating with potential to be fuelled by bioenergy, biogas/biomethane and bioliquids is welcome. The acknowledgement that biofuels have played a significant role in reducing transport emissions and will remain a core transitional measure for the medium-term reduction of GHG emissions is also positive.

Seán Finan concluded:  “E10 (10% ethanol in petrol) needs to be implemented immediately and increased urgency on biofuel blending up to B12 and B20 (12% and 20% biodiesel in diesel) is required. The ambition in terms of biomethane deployment is welcomed with an updated target of 5.7Twh by 2030. The proposal to develop a biomethane strategy within the next six months to reach this target signals the urgency required. This biomethane strategy needs to be accompanied by a package of incentives, supports and policy measures to mobilise the sector.  Biomethane is recognised in the plan for its potential to deliver zero emission gas-fired electricity generation, high temperature industrial heating, provide alternative diversification opportunities to farmers, but the plan does not mention the potential of biomethane as a transport fuel.  We acknowledge the recognition and support in the plan for our European Innovation Partnership (EIP) Small Biogas Demonstration project and we look forward to communicating the findings arising from this project in 2023.”


For Further Information Contact: Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 087 4146480

Notes to Editors:

IrBEA highlights several specific aspects related to the biomass, biogas/biomethane and liquid biofuels sectors in the plan published yesterday including:


  • Solid Biomass is mentioned as having a role to play in the provision of decarbonised heat at an industrial level but is not recognition for its role at a commercial or domestic level. The commercial level is the current focus of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) administered by SEAI.
  • The plan recognises electrification and biomass adoption in industrial heat decarbonisation and lists KPI’s for industry that “55% of low/medium heat to be electrified, 20% of low/ medium grade heat to be converted to sustainable biomass and 64% (2025) and 88% (2030) of high-grade heat to be converted to direct/hybrid electrification technology”. The ambition and strong focus on electrification technology here, which is not yet proven for high grade heat, does not make sense at the expense of sustainable biomass which is cheaper, widely available, proven and a deployed technology currently delivering renewable heat in Ireland at high temperature.
  • The plan is ambitious in terms of biomethane deployment with an updated target of 5.7Twh by 2030 and the plan to develop a biomethane strategy within the next six months is to be welcomed.
  • Biomethane and hydrogen is recognised for its potential to deliver zero emission gas fired electricity generation, high temperature industrial heating, provide alternative diversification opportunities to farmers but not recognised for its potential in transport decarbonisation.
  • IrBEA acknowledges the recognition and support in the plan for its European Innovation Partnership (EIP) Small Biogas Demonstration project and the dissemination of the learning arising from this project in 2023.
  • There is a recognition that Bioeconomy processes require actors working across sectors to: unlock the full potential and cascading use of biomass.
  • The recognition that liquid biofuels have played a significant role in reducing transport emissions and will remain a core transitional measure for the medium-term reduction of GHG emissions is welcomed. The plan to implement E10 (10% ethanol in petrol) in 2023 is confirmed but this should have been implemented several years ago. Increased biodiesel blending rates to B12 and B20 (12% and 20% biodiesel in diesel) need to be implemented more swiftly than 2030.
  • The domestic heat decarbonisation plan is short-sighted to solely focuses on an electrification decarbonisation solution with no recognition of the potential for bioliquid or solid biomass fuelled appliances. These appliances using either sustainable liquid biofuels or Wood Fuel Quality Assurance (WFQA) scheme certified dry wood fuels as a decarbonisation technology option, replicating these technology option widely deployed and policy supported in many other EU countries.
  • The lack of any recognition and no mention of the role for HVO in decarbonisation heat and transport is a missed opportunity.
  • Energy crops get no mention and a grant aid scheme for willow short rotation coppice should be reinstated in tandem with greatly increased promotion of the SSRH for local sustainable and workable heat solutions.
  • The ambition for district heating is welcomed. Biomass is a proven, low cost and sustainable energy sources for district heating throughout Europe, and that coupled with increasing levels of indigenous sustainable biomass set to come on stream from forestry it fully addresses security of supply concerns in relation to fossil fuels.
  • The ambition afforestation target is welcomed however the plan does not recognise the importance of developing the wood fuel sector in parallel, supplying quality, dry, certified wood fuels under the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance (WFQA) scheme label via local supply chains and providing an outlet for sustainable forest management thinning material.